Project, Richard Branson's iPad-only magazine, now available in Apple's App Store
Project magazine, Richard Branson's anticipated iPad-only publication, arrived in Apple's App Store today.
Branson's company, Virgin Group, described Project in a statement as "the first global magazine app for creative people about creative people."
In its premier issue, Project incorporates many of the same slick features seen in iPad versions of Wired and Sports Illustrated -- such as video and audio embedded into the articles, interactive graphics that change images at a touch command, and of course, interactive advertisements.
Links to websites of people, companies and products mentioned in articles are plentiful as well.
One unique feature: The cover of Project's first issue is actually a video that turns into a still image with links to the magazine's articles.
The Project iPad app, which is needed to read the publication, is free, but issues of the monthly magazine will cost $2.99 each -- which is less than most paper periodicals sitting on newsstands.
Without a purchased issue, the Project app does little more than act as a browser for Project's free-to-everybody-on-the-Internet blog over at www.projectmag.com.
Getting the app can be a bit of a pain for those who've yet to update their iPads to iOS 4.2 -- the Project app won't run on earlier versions of the tablet's operating system.
Most iPad users who have used other magazine or newspaper apps on the tablet should be able to get around Project without too much trouble.
Handily, one of the first pages in the debut issue of Project is devoted to directions on how to navigate the publication.
Virgin said Project was "an app that looks like a style magazine and acts like a website," and that description isn't far off.
Issues will update with new content daily, hourly and, at times, minute by minute, the company said in a statement.
Virgin, a multinational company that makes cellphones, runs an airline and is also working on sending people into space, is building the monthly magazine with Seven Squared, a multimedia publisher in the U.K.
Project is seeking contributions from readers, bloggers and "anyone with anything interesting to say" for the magazine, Virgin said, while offering little information on just how such contributions will take place.
Many in the publishing industry will be following Project's success or failure, and likewise that of Rupert Murdoch's upcoming iPad-only newspaper, the Daily, in determining whether or not the iPad and other tablet computers are legitimately a platform for selling daily and monthly digital publications.
Project, the Daily and the tablet-and-smart-phone-only publications that are likely to follow are no doubt trying to capture thesales momentum that Apple has created with the iPad.
Apple has sold more than 7.5 million iPads since the device launched in April, and games such as Cut the Rope and Angry Birdshave sold more than a million copies across the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
Branson hyped the iPad as the future of the publishing industry, while Anthony Noguera, the editor in chief of Project, said the magazine would help to determine "what will become the future of what we as readers expect from the magazines of tomorrow."
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Images: Screen shots of pages from Project magazine's first issue.