A lot of talk has been made about the success of the Wired iPad app (iTunes link), and how it might be a signal of things to come for the publishing industry as well as its saving grace.

I really hope it isn’t.

Wired june 10 iPad editionAfter hearing so many good things about the Wired iPad edition, I decided to give it a go, and I was pretty much disappointed from the outset.  The $4.99 price was disappointing enough, but as I started downloading and saw the download time would be 30 minutes on my computer, that was when I noticed it was 527.6 MBs.  I watch half hour video podcasts that aren’t even 25 percent that size, and this is a print magazine?

After the download and syncing it to my iPad, that’s when I discovered it was a stand-alone app.  My first question is it is simply labeled as “Wired”, so what happens when the next issue comes out?  If it overwrites the current one, that doesn’t seem exactly fair since I paid for it and should get to keep it as long as I want.  Will the next issue have another icon, and if so will it be labeled with a date so that I can tell them apart?  If I’m reading a bunch of different magazines each month, just how many icons does everyone expect me to have on my iPad?

Then came getting into the actual magazine, and I am shocked by the poor navigation and lack of ability to zoom.  For some mysterious reason, if a story is more than one page, you need to scroll down, but there is no visual indicator that I can see that tells you when to do this, so as I’m scrolling through I have to try scrolling down first, and then I scroll to the next page if there is nothing below it.  How hard would it be for there to be some sort of arrow or something indicating when it is a scroll down situation?

Then there are the ads.  Oh, the ads.  If you hit the wrong part of the screen you end up with a video ad playing unexpectedly.  So there is no interactivity anywhere else in the app, but there are embedded ads, which, were just part of your mammoth download.  Great.  Hope your ISP doesn’t have bandwidth caps!

It is honestly hard for me to imagine how this experience could have been any worse.  You look at any of the e-book and comic book apps, they provide you with a free store app and then you download the books and issues into that app so you don’t have something separate for each item.  They also provide you with the ability to control your reading experience in various ways, but the Wired app provides one way, that’s it, move along.

For me, this experience was a complete and utter failure.  I didn’t enjoy the experience at all, and I think any publishers who follow this path — Adobe will soon make the software used in this production available to more companies — are idiots.  You want to increase magazine sales?  Imagine you’re stuck in a doctor’s office, delayed at an airport, waiting in the driver’s license office and so on, and you decide on the spur of the moment you need some entertainment.  Lets see, you can download an entire novel in a minute or two, or spend a half hour or more downloading one magazine with horrible navigation … gee, which are you going to choose?

For me, this was my one and only issue of Wired until I hear of massive changes to the user interface.  I did not find one positive thing to say about this user experience … not one.  All it did was aggravate me and regret the $4.99 I spent.

What say you?  Did you download the app?  What did you think of it?