This week’s top iPad apps show that more museums have started utilizing the capabilities of the iPad. Also, The New Yorker Magazine released an app, but messed up the pricing structure, and of course more games came along to help us pass the time.
Word Seek HD ($3.99, $1.99 for a limited time)
There are a ton of word-search games in the App Store, but this week’s release of Word Seek HD ($3.99, 99 cents for a limited time) takes it to a new level. Like Boggle, find words based on the letters provided in a 4x4 grid (or 5x5 if you’re up to the challenge). Complete challenge rounds and earn badges, and post your scores to Facebook and Twitter.
The New Yorker Magazine ($4.99)
The New Yorker Magazine, which has been delivering electronic content for a while now (subscribers can receive an email that allows them to view the latest issue online in a format that looks something like the way iBooks works), has delivered what, for some people, has been a long-awaited app.
I hesitated including The New Yorker Magazine app in this list, because they really messed up the pricing. Every companion app for a magazine I’ve seen has allowed subscribers to the print product access the iPad content for free (People, for instance) -- but not The New Yorker. While my subscription gets me the magazine for a buck or two, to see it on my iPad, I have to pay $4.99. That’s double-dipping, followed by a punch in the face -- not cool. At the very least, a discount for subscribers should be offered. This is a weekly magazine -- that’s $20 per month.
However, the app is stellar, almost as stellar as the commercial for it starring actor Jason Schwartzman. All purchased issues are stored within the app itself. Promised updates include searching the archives, sharing, and resizing type. Tap play on the first page, and watch the cover being drawn (probably with Brushes) right before your eyes. Tap any story in the table of contents and be taken directly to it. It is an elegant electronic representation of an excellent magazine, and though the pricing structure is absurd, it’s possible that this is the future model for the medium.
Art Institute of Chicago ($3.99)
I have been watching with glee as museums around the world have taken to the iPad to bring their collections to the masses. As a Chicagoan, I’ve been eagerly waiting for the Art Institute of Chicago to get in on the action. They have, with the release of French Impressionism at the Art Institute of Chicago ($3.99). View the collections by artist and scroll through galleries, pinching and zooming on portions of the pieces that are of interest. Read histories and timelines, and watch panoramic gallery videos. Considering that during my last visit to the Art Institute, I found some galleries closed to the public during portions of the day because of lack of funds to pay security to monitor the public, I have no problem paying $3.99 for this app. I can’t wait until they add more apps for the rest of their collections.
It’s possible I’ve had a little too much fun with PhotoPuppet ($3.99). Using photos from your iPad photo library, combined with templates in the app, you can create awesome animated scenes and post them to YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. While I was able to cobble together some basic animations right out of the box, after watching some tutorials on the developer’s website, I became an instant pro, much to the consternation of my children. This app is a really fun way to bring your photos to life.