Life Adds Scenic Vistas to the iPad

By Steve Smith

Putting the Life magazine brand onto the iPad is about as obvious a digital move as one can imagine. Most early developers for this platform have commented about how users love to swipe through endless galleries of images because of the sharp and luminous nature of the iPad display. Life’s trove of images is a natural for the iPad. The brand appears to be coming onto the platform incrementally and quietly. Without fanfare last week two Life branded apps appeared in the iTunes store. A robust Life app has been on the iPhone for a number of months, but these programs represent the first forays into tablets for the iconic magazine.

Life Wallpaper Classic ($1.99) is a collection of familiar Life images rendered into iPad wallpapers. The pack of 25 images includes a number of scenic and crowd views that can be saved to the iPad’s photo gallery and made into backgrounds. The more ambitious digital magazine is an iPad version of a recent special issue “Wonders of the World.” The digitized version of the issue collects scenic imagery from worldwide man-made or natural wonders, from the Great Pyramids to Stonehenge and Venezuela’s Angel Falls. The app has a pop-up thumbnail index for quick naviation across pages and sections. The app works only in landscape mode. The two-page splash occupies one screen and the user scrolls down to read the text. The app includes a link to the live site as well, which is optimized for iPad viewing. The issue sells for $4.99.

While the Wonders of the World issue is a fair start, the digital version is just a port of print. It whets the appetite for a more robust iPad version of the existing Life iPhone app, which updates itself daily with many of the images appearing on the Web site as well. The editors of this iPhone app do a good job of combining classic Life images with galleries that display or relate to current events. Clearly, there is much more to be done with the Life brand on the iPad, however.