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Astronaut Magazine

Unexpected missions and odd adventures in a new iPad pub with a clever user interface

by Josh Rubin in Culture on 25 July 2011

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The brainchild of a creative group of friends in Berlin, Astronaut is an independent magazine designed specifically for the iPad. Intriguing editorials and clever interactivity lend the first issue—released last month—a comfortable feel which, nicely complimented by strong imagery and enthralling mini-documentaries, which tell tales "of amazing journeys, great missions and epic adventures."

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Although the overall package is compelling in its own right, the short documentaries are a fantastic device-specific enhancement. Ranging from four to 22 minutes in length, each film acts as an extension of the editorial content by diving deeper into the subject at hand. And after swiping through the issue numerous times, the documentaries alone seem well worth the magazine's modest $4 price. Make sure to check out the study of eccentric Midwesterner "Zoomer" and the Polar Bear clubs of Australia, each a pleasure to watch.

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In terms of interactivity, the navigation is a simple swipe-to-turn-pages model that's enhanced by only having some components of the page turn from time to time. The article opened might move off the page to see the background picture full screen before moving on to the next page, for example. To further challenge the dynamic of traditional magazine format, some pages hold hidden imagery only discovered with a keen eye and the slide of your finger in just the right place. What could have been overdone, the clever user interface content finds a nice balance with the editorial content without getting in the user's way.

Astronaut magazine can be found in the iTunes App Store—with twelve editorial features and over ninety minutes of film there is really no reason not to jump on board.

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