Branson’s iPad-only Magazine Project Hints at the Future

Once every few weeks, I write a blog post for Idea Peepshow, the official blog of Fast Horse Inc., the consumer marketing agency where I’m currently an intern. Today, I wrote about Project, Richard Branson’s iPad-only magazine:

Actor Jeff Bridges is featured on the cover of Project's premier issue.

Turns out all the banter about tablet devices and the future of publishing wasn’t just conjecture. Finally, we’ve got something promising.

Project, the iPad-only magazine backed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, hit the iTunes app store on Tuesday. Described as a “revolutionary multimedia magazine, ” Project includes lush video and images paired with audio and interactive content to create a media-rich experience.

Of course, we’ve already seen plenty of traditional magazines come to the iPad, but most of these are essentially PDF replicates of their hard-copy editions. Project isn’t the first iPad-only magazine as Branson claims, but it is dazzling. Here’s the requisite video demo:

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The iPad Hits Portland, Apple Fans Rejoice

Throngs of customers showed up this morning at the Pioneer Place Apple Store in Portland, OR for the iPad release.

My love affair with Apple is well-documented. Two laptops, four iPods and one iPhone since I first made the conversion from Microsoft, I can say I worship at the Church of Apple and pray at the altar of Steve Jobs.

I’m not 100 percent on board with Apple’s iPad. Not yet, anyway. My jaw hit the floor in January when Jobs first introduced the device, but I hesitate to buy one because I can’t get over what it’s lacking: no camera, no video, no multitasking, no Flash, no GPS. The iPad has left me feeling like something of heretic.

Forgive me, Steve.

I went to the Pioneer Place Apple Store in downtown Portland today to speak with those who were taking the dive headlong into uncharted waters. I can’t imagine spending $500-$800 for a toy I’ve never played with, but Apple has earned the trust of its worshippers through a decade of innovation and followthrough.

To the Pioneer Place Apple Store’s credit, the roll-out was excellent. It’s hard to guess a number, but a crowd of 25 at 7:30 a.m. swelled to a line of nearly 400 when the 9 a.m. release came. Eager shoppers were treated to free Starbucks coffee, bottles of Smart Water and Pop Tarts by Apple employees. Thumbing away at their iPhones, even hopeless shoppers at the back of the line seemed OK with the wait. These types of consumer spectacles don’t always go so well (See: Black Friday), but Apple did well by their legions of loyalists.

So, who among you is reading this on your iPad? What’s the early review? And if you’re like me, why are you hesitating to drink the Kool-Aid?