iPad New Yorker app

The New Yorker app for iPad is probably my favourite experience on the iPad. The interface for the magazine works really well and perfectly suits the long-form essays plus other assorted stuff contained in the publication.

I have one major technical complaint with the application, which is that each issue is some 150MB and while it's downloading the app cannot be used for anything else, and it doesn't (obviously, perhaps) continue downloading in the background if you exit the app. So going into the application and choosing to read a new issue results in putting the iPad out of commission for some ten minutes while the issue gets pulled down.

(I don't understand why these magazines come to such large file sizes. Text and images shouldn't be so large; I'd prefer movies and lengthy audio to stream and cache themselves only after you choose to watch/listen to them. I very much hope these apps aren't using pre-generated bitmaps for the text; PDF files would be a far more sensible approach, here — especially in the not-too-distant future when the iPad moves to sup.-300 DPI screens.)

Anyway, it's good stuff, and imminent subscription services should make the whole thing much more affordable and convenient. I hope Condé Nast will be able to add background downloading in the future and it'll be all good.

My second more worry-some complaint is the in-app ads. Don't get me wrong: the magazine has always had ads and in the past they haven't bothered me.

In the February 7 issue, the magazine contained 42 "pages/articles" which are swiped horizontally for navigation. Short pieces scroll vertical, and longer articles are broken into discrete vertical pages. Of the 42 pages, eight were long-form (paged) articles, seven were single-screen ads, and the remainder (27) were various forms of content (including table-of-contents, cover page, etc.). Of the eight paged articles, three had another ad mid-way through. To recap:

42 pages / 8 long articles/ 8+3=11 ads

I found this a perfectly acceptable ratio of ads to content. They were infrequent enough to actually notice during the reading of the issue.

When I purchased the joint Feb. 14/21 issue, however, I noticed almost immediately a huge uptick in the number of total ads. Because it's a double issue, it's larger than the previous issue I described above; it contains 67 "pages", with eleven long-form articles, and twenty-eight ad screens. For the long-form articles, there were nineteen more ads within (sometimes two or three per article). To summarise:

67 pages / 11 long articles / 19+28=47 ads

The problem with the ads is that they're more intrusive than for reading a paper magazine; it's easy to turn physical pages, but swiping repetitively is a tedious process.

The huge increase in the number of ads detracted significantly from the enjoyment of reading the magazine. I sincerely hope that this increase was, for some reason, related to the fact that it was a double-issue and this large ratio won't continue in subsequent issues.