Maxim Hits The E-Spot: Maxim HD

Note: Free on iTunes normally takes a brief look at several free products, but occasionally I run across a product that I think is significant enough to warrant closer examination. Maxim HD is one of those products. This is not a review.

Walk into any bookstore and take a casual census of the magazines available that are aimed at either men or women. What you’ll notice is that there are far more women’s magazines than there are for men. Even the ones that may be considered unisex, often lean heavily towards the feminine.

Magazines for guys are easy to spot, the cover will have one or more of the five following items:

  1. Hot women: Nothing says “ Hey Big Boy, take a long look at me,” better than putting a photo of a scantily clad, well proportioned, drop-dead gorgeous woman on the cover.
  2. Vehicles: Regardless of social or economic standing, men are attracted to anything with wheels and a motor.
  3. Gadgets: Be they tools or tinker toys, if it’s shiny, has blinky lights, or made of metal (hopefully all three), we gotta poke at it. Preferably if it has buttons.
  4. Outdoors: Some of you may fight me on this, but check my reasoning: Even if it’s a virtual outdoors (video game), we like it better outside.
  5. Make/Repair: We enjoy tinkering. Some of us suck at it, finding it hard to glue two sticks together. Some of us excel at it, and can build a jet engine, shake down a Glock, or design a skyscraper all while watching The Three Stooges Marathon. Nearly all of us, nonetheless, enjoy messin’ with stuff.

Also, from time to time, guys just want to hold up in a comfortable spot and hang out. We don’t want to think or be required to do or feel responsible for anything.

A magazine that includes healthy doses of any combination of the above, viewed with a wry sense of humor, should sell well. Make a mag that’s heavy of the eye-candy and light on thought demands and you’d have something guys can enjoy when they just wanna hang.

Few things can be more enjoyable than kicking back on the couch, an ice cold brewski nearby (on a coaster, just as you’ve been trained), maybe some good tunes playing, and a magazine that offers nothing more cerebral than deciding which article to read. (Hint: Opt for the one that contains the most eye-candy.) And wouldn’t it be nice if the articles and associated eye-candy were displayed on your trusty iPad? And wouldn’t it be nicer still if said articles and eye-candy appearing on said iPad appeared there for free? Of course it would!

Well gentlemen, have I got a treat for you.

Maxim magazine, whose pages are chock full of scantily clad, drop-dead gorgeous women, adult, male oriented humor, and articles that require the use of, perhaps, two brain cells, has a new iPad app. Not only is the app good, it’s free! Not only is the app free, but there’s a free issue as well.

Maxim HD

When Maxim released it’s app, Maxim HD, late last week it showcased the October issue only, folks with older issues could not access them. Maxim issued a new update to fix that oversight, but in doing it took away the freebie issue. Since then the free issue has been made available, those of you with back issues can still ogle them to your heart’s content.

If we can look pass the bodacious beauties for a moment (however reluctantly) you’ll find the reason I’m featuring Maxim exclusively in this week’s Free on iTunes. See, this new and improved Maxim does so much right that other e-magazines would do well to take notice.

Maxim HD Magazine Index

First and foremost is the navigation. Think of moving through the magazine as if you are on a rail. Many Maxim articles can fit on one page, including lots of graphics (See? Two brain cells.), so moving through the magazine normally requires a simple side-to-side swipe. There are the occasional multipage feature, however, and to get to the extra pages you swipe down. If you swipe down and the article doesn’t move then there’s no more to see there, just move on. A little arrow in the lower left corner of the page offers a hint that there’s more below. Very simple, very clean.

But it doesn’t stop there. You can access any article by tapping the screen to wake up the navigation menu screen. There’s a slider bar (scrubber) at the bottom, use it and you’ll see thumbnails of the front pages of every article in the issue. Stop when you see something you like and the article appears in full screen.

Maxin HD Issue Index

And there’s still more. When you bring up navigation menu screen you’ll find other options listed at the top. The upside down bar chart (Stack View) icon in the upper right corner puts navigation in a hybrid mode that gives you an expanded thumbnail view of the articles, showing more of the multipage articles and a brief synopsis of each. Swipe left or right and get a better view of the goods contained therein.

And there’s more still. Touch the sideways bar-chart (Table of Contents) icon in the upper left of the navigation menu screen and you are presented with an index of articles with section and article title, along with a thumbnail. Tap any and you’re delivered to the article of your choosing.

The return-arrow icon takes you back to where you were, the issue name takes you the current issue cover page, and the house icon takes you to the magazine index where you can select any of the other issues you have in your stable, or buy a new one.

Maxim HD Article Index

Just the navigation options alone are enough to make me want to buy this magazine, add to that the fabulously eye-catching photos and graphics, with just enough multimedia thrown in to keep things interesting, and you have one hot commodity.

Other magazines really need to take notice, because Maxim has it going on. I’d even consider pay real American dollars for a subscription (purely for the articles, of course). Unfortunately Maxim hasn’t figured out how to do subscription yet, but they tell me it’s coming.

There is a bit of an annoyance that comes when swiping through the pages; sometimes they hang and you have to swipe twice, or three times to move on. It’s a minor tweak, I’m sure.

While we’re talking about annoyance, I need to list two that I think are major. The first is that you can’t zoom in on pix, and this is a biggie. After all, what’s the use of having the e-version of the mag if you can’t reap the primary benefits? And being able to get up close and personal with your favorite, umm, article is a benefit you’ll want.

The second omission is that you can’t adjust the fonts sizes, and flipping to landscape won’t help. The fonts are the same size regardless of orientation, however, changing orientation may change the layout of any given page. Photos appearing in portrait mode may be larger, smaller, or nonexistent in landscape mode.

Still, even with these missing features, Maxim has hit the sweet spot that many other e-publications are trying, and failing to find. Get Maxim HD, download the free October issue, and take a good look at what could possibly be the future of e-magazines.

Ok, that’s a wrap for this week.

More free stuff below with direct links.