Skulls by Simon Winchester
By Touch Press Inc
Open iTunes to buy and download apps.
Skulls by Simon Winchester is a stunning, richly illustrated iPad title that advances the interactive book format pioneered by Touch Press with The Elements and Solar System.
The title features beautiful 360 degree high-resolution rotations of over 300 animal skulls collected by Alan Dudley and photographed by Nick Mann. The story behind this remarkable collection, the zoology of skulls and the place of skulls in art and popular culture are vividly recounted by Simon Winchester, author of Atlantic, Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded and The Professor and the Madman (all New York Times Best Sellers).
Simon's text is presented on the iPad screen in two formats. In portrait orientation the text is black on white optimized for reading. In landscape it is white on black, optimized for display of the beautiful visuals, with every skull spinning at the touch of your finger. New pinch zooming engineering allows smooth rotation even when objects are greatly magnified. The full text is also available spoken by the author, synchronised to the page.
Skulls by Simon Winchester features advanced interactive features including an intuitive interface for exploring the collection, revolutionary differential scrolling in the chapter pages and 3D stereoscopic presentation of every skull. There is also a powerful facility allowing up to four skulls to be compared in locked rotation side by side.
The title also includes detailed notes for every species with photographs of the living animal and links to a wealth of information from Wolfram|Alpha (internet connection required). Alan Dudley has also recorded many audio clips describing highlights from his extraordinary skull collection.
What's New in Version 1.0.3
Updated look and feel for iOS 7.
High Quality 3D educational app, atrocious app badge.
Skulls by Simon Winchester has beautifully presented written pages with accompanying photo illustrations. Each is linked with elegantly styled curves which move in place with scrolling - very nicely done. The position slider at the bottom although nicely presented is somewhat fiddly to use if you wish to skip ahead or return to chapter. The Gallery page and The Collection complete a thorough and interesting presentation with a compare feature too. However, all those sections are not readily available from any one page E.g. Collection and Compare are not navigable from any chapter page, meaning the navigation still needs to be reworked.
The star attraction is TouchPress' trademark touchable 3D images each of which are as fun to toy with as they are informative and beautifully photographed.
For the budding natural history, biology or other enthusiast there is a very good range of animal skulls and related information to explore.
For negatives, the layout of the Contents page is a little ill-considered from a usability point of view in that the prime top-left position with huge screen real-estate size is given over to the publishing house's Credits. I mean, seriously, how many app users are going to be interested to read a name list more than once...if at all? And yet it gets pole position.
A second negative to mention is the atrocious new app badge. The combination of the choice of skull, the flattening of it to 2D, with its garish green and purple colours leaves us with a badge that bears little resemblance to the app's contents. Although seemingly wanting to tag along with the non-skeuomorphic iOS7 and Metro ethos they seem to have forgotten their best and signature feature here is 3D! What is left is a cartoonish, tacky, non-appropriate cover design that is more suited to the 'Zombies and Skullz' range of bad games not the classy and slick 3D presentation of this contents at all.
Overall it is an excellent app that will appeal to a broad range of people young and old.
- Category: Books
- Updated: 17 December 2013
- Version: 1.0.3
- Size: 1.63 GB
- Language: English
- Developer: Touch Press Inc
- © Touchpress Ltd
Compatibility: Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPad.