NEW YORK - Attended by red-clad vixens sporting iPads and high heels, Richard Branson announced the launch of Project, a high-end lifestyle magazine specifically designed for the iPad. Featuring a video cover, user-generated content and customizable features, Project seeks to combine modern crowdsourcing with old-style reportage to create a new, hybrid product.
The magazine will cover the topics of design, entertainment, entrepreneurship and technology. The inaugural issue, already available for $2.99 from the iTunes store, features an interview with Jeff Bridges and a guided tour of Tokyo. However, unlike regular magazines, the Jeff Bridges story features video and audio, and the Tokyo story uses Google Earth to give a virtual expedition.
"It's the first truly digital magazine for creative people, by creative people," Branson said.
Purchasing the magazine essentially buys readers the rights to the content for an entire month, during which the editors and the readers will add content. Branson stressed the scale of user-generated content, comparing Project to Wikipedia at one point.
"It's an ongoing Project throughout the month, growing and changing," Branson said.
Branson and his team designed Project to work specifically with the iPad, allowing it to work hand-in-glove with the Apple device, but ensuring that it won't run on other tablet PCs. Branson said that they would eventually adapt Project to those other platforms, but didn't give an estimate for when that would be.
The magazine is well-designed, combining the style of a print publication with the functionality of a website. However, there were some glitches during the presentation, and it may take a few issues of the magazine for the publishers to iron out all the kinks.
Originally, Branson intended to call the magazine Maverick, and even announced the launch of Maverick back in July. Eventually, Branson changed the name to Project, after realizing the publication would evolve throughout the month.