Macworld Express for iPad review

Macworld Express is the pick of Macworld’s content delivered to your iPad, and updated daily. Reformatted for iPad, the app brings you news, reviews and blogs from Macworld staff. You’ll also find the best tutorials and features, including product round-ups and how-to content.

How’s this different to the digital version of the magazine you can subscribe to through Zinio? While the latter is a faithful, issue-by-issue reproduction of the newstand Macworld, this app offers choice cuts of content, optimised for iPad viewing. Based around macworld.co.uk, it’s always up to date with the latest buzz.

Reformatting web stories specifically for the iPad doesn’t always work for media content. Wired and The New York Times had some notorious teething problems at launch. The clue to this app’s success is in the name, Macworld Express. Providing lightweight, bite-size content, even long articles (such as step-by-step tutorials) are formatted in a way that makes iPad consumption fast and easy.

The layout’s the key here, providing a consistent, visual grid of content on the main page (labelled “My Macworld”) and across each section. Beyond the front page, where all the freshest stories can be found, browsing to content you need can be achieved in several ways. You can access the category menu on the right of the screen, drilling down through a dozen well chosen sections, or scroll through using the preview navigation tool at the bottom of the page. The design is slick, black and hard-edged; a little old-school and industrial.

We love being able to download favourably reviewed apps direct to our iPad using inline links.

Though you might access the Macworld website, there are a fistful of reasons why the app makes for a more fulfilling experience. The first is, of course, formatting. The copy is retooled page for page, with navigation tools melting away, and with font and layout optimised for iPad reading.

Navigation takes full advantage of the iPad’s touchscreen features, with fast scrolling and the ability to flick quickly through articles in a section - much like a real magazine. The transitions from preview to full article are nice too, with a key screenshot anchoring the change.

Then there are those generic iPad advantages. The ability to view the page in portrait or landscape orientation, for example. You can also head into the settings section and tweak font sizes for reading. The layout automatically readjusts to accommodate your choice.

One of the most fun features of Macworld Express is that, with App Store links embedded, you can install favourably reviewed apps to your iPad straight away. The ability to go from review to installation in seconds still feels pretty space age.

Save for later

It’s easy to make your own personal version of Macworld with the ‘save for later’ feature.

Among the sections in the navigation sidebar, you’ll find a category labelled “Saved”. This innocuous-seeming entry is a more powerful feature than it first appears. As you read through Macworld Express you can, at any time, click an icon that sends the current piece to your “Saved” page. Go to the section later and you’ll see all saved items arranged in the familiar navigation grid used throughout the app. It’s like making your own bespoke magazine.

It gets better. These articles aren’t bookmarked, they’re backed up for offline reading - enabling you to access them later from anywhere, whether your connected to the net or not.

My Macworld

Edit story order in My Macworld to make sure your interests are front and centre.

Though you can change font sizes in the settings dialogue, the main element of customisation on offer here is the ability to shuffle and prioritise the order of sections in the “My Macworld” page. This displays an assortment of the newest content available to read. Click “Edit” and you can choose your favourite section to foreground. If you’re a news addict, you can bring brand-new news stories to the top of the pile. If you want fast access to the freshest reviews, you can select them for prominence instead. It’s Macworld… but your way.

Social Networks

With Macworld Express you can tell friends and colleagues about useful news and features.

Using the web is becoming less of an isolated activity and more of a conversation. That’s why we’re pleased to see several embedded ways of sharing content built into Macworld Express.

There’s support for Facebook and Twitter, both requiring authorisation before enabling you to post to your respective profiles on these services. You can also choose to send content links by email. Here’s hoping that future updates will add the increasingly popular Google Plus, where much of the cutting-edge tech conversation is now moving.

Our gripes are few, but we should mention them in the pursuit of balance. We miss having comments on articles. An advantage of web content is the discussion it prompts. We were also a little disappointed to see that, in the version we tested, we couldn’t yet pinch and zoom images. Something to keep in mind for
a future update.

Overall, though, Macworld Express is a must-have for any iPad owner.

OUR VERDICT

For the best all-round Apple news, reviews, blogs and features delivered direct to your iPad, there’s only one app you really need. Macworld Express squashes lots of essential content into an easy to access package.

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