iPad: Perfect for digital comics?

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There are three major comic-book buying apps for the iPhone: Panelfly, Comics, and iVerse Comics. And there are also a bunch of comic-reading apps for the iPhone, my favorite of which is ComicZeal.

Now, I don’t want to tell these developers what to do. But I will. Developers, download the software-development kit for the iPad and get iPad versions of your apps working on the device for its launch!

There will be a lot of debate about the iPad’s viability as a product. Will it sell? Will it make a good e-book reader? Will it save the newspaper industry? And we’ll probably debate all of those items in the coming days.

But for now, let’s take a moment to consider the humble comic-book lovin’ geek. The iPad may be the best device yet invented for the reading of digital comics. The iPhone is nice, but its screen is just too small — zoomed out, a comic page is unreadable. Zoomed in, there’s a whole lot of panning around going on.

But the iPad’s 1024-by-768-pixel display, while in the unfashionable 4:3 aspect ratio, is just about the right shape for a comic-book page. And the iPad packs enough pixels that comic pages should be readable at full-size on the iPad. At worst, the panning around should be kept to a minimum.

A comic page shrunk down to the iPad's screen resolution should still be quite readable, as this extremely cropped sample image suggests.
Presumably these developers are already on the case. I know the guys at Comixology, makers of Comics, are: on Wednesday they posted a comics-on-iPad concept video. My reaction: their demo relies a bit too much on their pan-and-scan interface, which works great on the iPhone but seems kind of unnecessary on the iPad. Still, I’m sure there’s plenty of room for innovation and interface variation when it comes to comics apps on the iPad. I can’t wait to try them all!

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At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Solid and speedy hardware
    • Big, bright touchscreen
    • Large collection of apps


    • Music and video apps could be better
    • Heavier and harder to hold than a dedicated e-book reader
    • External keyboard needed for long-form typing chores
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