Gone Sideways: Sports Illustrated’s iPad Edition Removes Portrait Mode – So What?

This image described by iPad, Sports Illustrated, landscape mode, Si-portrait-mode

One of the initial selling points of the iPad was that you could turn it any which way, and the screen image would automatically resize/reorient itself.  Simple and intuitive, right?

Somebody at Sports Illustrated didn't think so.  Their iPad app — which originaly supported both portrait and landscape viewing — is now locked into landscape-only mode.  Try to read the issue in portrait mode, and you'll get a dunning notice at the bottom of the screen.

Josh Quittner, who has become SI parent Time Inc.'s resident iPad expert, defends the no-portrait-mode decision as both an aesthetic decision (it's easier to read, and more analogous to a hard-copy magazine) and a practical one (a unidirection format means a smaller download, plus less coding manpower).

Personally, we don't see what the hoo-hah is.  The portrait-AND-landscape-mode model is not an absolute; there are plenty of games, ebook readers, and photo browsing apps that don't work in portrait mode.  SI's only crime was pointing out that the issues would only be available in landscape mode.  Besides, landscape looks better anyway — as millions of wide-screen TV's and computer monitors point out.  So unless the bi-directional functionality was mandated by Apple as part of their iPad app design specifications, it's a non-issue for all concerned.

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