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LIFE celebrates 75 years with new iPad app

by Kathryn Swartz

LIFE magazine is turning 75 this year, so the classic publication has released the hybrid coffee-table book/app Life 75 for iPad in celebration.

Life 75 features a collection of highlights from the publication’s 75-year history and includes two viewing methods, which means the app feels like two books in one. When holding your iPad vertically, you can swipe through various LIFE covers. These aren’t presented chronologically, but instead are slotted into various themes, such as war, children and celebrities.

When the iPad is tilted into landscape mode, Life 75 displays photos “related” to the cover. This photo collection can be browsed by decade, and each photo includes caption information. There are also bonus features available, such as extra photos (small in size, but some never seen before), articles pulled from the publication or audio and video commentary from Life editors and contributors, both past and present.

I did find it strange that the photos are not necessarily from their corresponding covers. For instance, a 2007 image of Patrick Dempsey and his pregnant wife appears when you flip an issue from 1949 simply because it has a baby on the cover.

This app is by no means a complete LIFE anthology: It offers hundreds of photos and 135 covers from the past 75 years. It should also be noted that there are quite a few errors in typesetting, grammar and spelling throughout. That makes Life 75’s $13 price tag a hefty one, and worth a few thinks before you make this investment