Time Magazine & Popular Science iPad Apps Now Provide In-App Issue Purchases

Time’s first e-issue for the iPad was a huge disappointment for me. It started with its $4.99 issue price which I thought was much too high. My overall opinion could have been turned to a positive one with a good e-magazine experience. Instead, I found it had an odd touch experience with many sections requiring multipe swipes to move to the next section, unintutive vertical navigation with no indication that text was “beneath” the border of the display, uninspired layout, the inability to share or bookmark articles, and the lack of multimedia accompanying articles.

Fortune/CNN’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt asked the people responsible for the digital editions of Popular Science and Time Magazine:

Why iPad mags cost $4.99 each

The rationale: Both Time and Popular Science are charging as much as they think people are willing to pay. Yes, Popular Science is still in the top 50 of the App Store’s Paid Apps list. But, I wonder how much of that is simply new iPad and iPad 3G owners testing the waters?

Both Time and Popular Science have addressed one of my biggest complaints about the first wave of iPad magazines: Both now provide in-app issue purchasing. This means that you don’t have to clutter your iPad with a bunch of single issue apps.

Popular Science still charges $4.99 for the current issue. But, it appears that they are dropping the cost for old issues to $2.99. The Fortune article also notes that Popular Science editor-in-chief Mark Jannot said that when Apple allows subscriptions, he plans on charging $29.99 for a 12-issue annual subscription. This works out to a much more reasonable $2.50 per issue.