I am stranded in the nation’s capital, trying to get to the Geneva motor show, and my world is slowly dying around me, one power bar at a time: • BlackBerry—two power bars out of five • iPhone—38 percent power • iPad—13 percent power • PowerBook—95 percent power
United has blown my connection, and the clock has been ticking on my electronic arsenal’s power supply ever since I packed earlier this morning. Right this minute, it’s very easy to believe in magazines, especially with four power cords buried in my checked baggage as I am shuttled off without them to the local Hilton for the next twenty-four hours.
It doesn’t kill me to lose BlackBerry contact. I never wanted one, but a former chairman of our company was gaga over it. “You’ll be getting your BlackBerry soon,” he told me at a corporate soiree ten years ago, sure that this news would put me over the moon. He would be wrong. I’d heard of his legendary midnight BlackBerry e-mail commands to harried executives. Today, of course, I have carpal tunnel in both wrists from incessantly thumbing the keyboard of my, oh, tenth one. Giving it a break for a day would be swell.
The iPhone is another story. I bought it for its great camera and the ease with which photos can be e-mailed or uploaded to Facebook. The BlackBerry is still king of e-mail, so of course I travel with both. The bonus is our free Automobile Magazine news app (also available on Android phones), an easy-to-use, live link to the meat of automobilemag.com’s RSS feed. You can grab breaking news at RUMORS, reviews of every car we drive at DRIVEN, and videos, photos, and select features.
I love that iPhone. In addition to taking pictures, I’ve used it to film Jaguar’s design director, Ian Callum, talking about his inspiration for the new XJ and to capture Jay Leno at his Big Dog Garage, explaining the two historic stationary steam engines chugging and puffing away next to him.
Nothing, though, has captivated us quite like the iPad. I have been a magazine junkie all my life and currently receive at least a dozen weeklies and monthlies, plus three daily newspapers. I love print. I fondle the covers, smell the ink, feel the pages. I love to watch our magazine come together over the course of a month, from the first on-screen look at a stunning photo shoot to opening the first box of issues from the printing house.
Then along comes the iPad, and it’s like starting a new magazine. Our company, Source Interlink Media, jumped in enthusiastically from the start. We’ve been making it up as we go, riding the cutting edge of a technology that includes a new operating system and brand-new magazine design tools to go along with this enchanting new piece of hardware.
The opportunities are obvious: With just a click, you can see and hear cars blast down the road within our iPad layouts. You can see and hear the interesting people we know and interview. We can present photos horizontally on the iPad, without having the car break in two across the magazine’s center gutter. A magazine story with space for maybe six big photos can, on the iPad, have an almost endless gallery of full-screen shots, in breathtaking, comprehensive detail.
Highlights of our first iPad issues include: A video of Leno driving and discussing his supercharged 1928 Bugatti Type 37A. The ability to create, with the swipe of your finger, a finished rendering of a Porsche 907 in twenty layers, as detailed by car designer Jason White. Live links from our Collectible Classic feature car to eBay Motors auctions of the same vintage models. The chance to hear the magnificent engines of Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason’s vintage Italian racing and sports cars. In-car video of Porsche racing great Hurley Haywood driving a 911 Turbo on the infamous Tail of the Dragon and sharing his thoughts on high-performance driving. McLaren designer Frank Stephenson talking us through a video of what Jamie Kitman considers the greatest supercar ever. Even our first iPad advertiser, Chevrolet, has several embedded Volt videos.
We’ve done five iPad issues so far, from January 2011 (free) through May. When you download the Automobile Magazine app, you have access to the store where each issue resides. Although they currently cost $3.99 each to cover the cost of the expanded content, there are plans afoot to bundle print and iPad subscriptions and to offer iPad-only subs. We will also create an ongoing series of iPad-only special issues, so download the free app and check back often.
Meanwhile, I’m trudging back to Dulles—a day late and an iPad, an iPhone, and a BlackBerry short—for the next flight to Geneva. My first stop will be at the newsstand to load up on four or five glossies for the trip. I need my magazines. And I will be looking for a tech kiosk where I can buy an in-flight charger for my iPad. It seems I can no longer live without that, either.
Don’t forget to click “tap for more” at the top of this page for a little tour of the Geneva show.
Oh, wait. That’s in the iPad version.