Zinio’s New AIR App Shows the Future of Magazines

The year was 2005 and I was reading a magazine — on a Microsoft Windows Tablet PC (s msft). The experience was a precursor to what I anticipate from Apple’s iPad (s aapl). It was an enjoyable and portable experience. The software I used back then was Zinio Reader and a new beta version of the software is now available in an Adobe AIR application — it runs on Windows, Mac and Linux computers.

All of the features from prior versions are in the new Zinio Reader 4: page bookmarks, clips of favorites, sharing content with friends, offline reading and more. I grabbed a sample magazine — the recent issue of iPhone Life — and totally enjoyed the experience. Visually, the digital magazine content is stunning and the zooming works great — text re-renders properly and quickly after a zoom. Page turns can show as sliding content or as an actual, physical page flip. Web links are active too. Tapping one opens up your computer’s default web browser instantly. And although I don’t pay much notice to advertisements, Zinio says these can be dynamic and interactive.

Zinio plans to offer an iPad application next month and I anticipate the experience to be very similar. In fact, if you want a pre-cursor, give the new Zinio Reader 4 app a download to get a feel for what to expect. And between now and April 2, you can download a free digital copy of National Geographic’s Water issue. For some reason it’s not appearing for me in the new Reader 4 app, but I can open it directly from my browser and use Zinio’s Flash-based (s adbe) reader. Hopefully, that’s a beta glitch that gets addressed soon because the interaction on this magazine issue had me hooked in five seconds. As soon as I saw water actually flowing on the cover, I was drowning myself in the content.

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