I've been bitching to Jim Dalrymple of The Loop for years that, as much as I liked his and Peter Cohen's highly curated, Apple-, web-, music-, and gaming-centric link-list style, I missed their longer form pieces, the kind I remembered fondly from Macworld. Jim, of course, laughed. You might well know Jim's laugh. It's equal parts hilarious and bone-chilling. That laugh. Then, one day, he called me and said I could stop my bitching. He had a plan. He was going to start The Loop Magazine.
And now here it is, on the App Store, in Newsstand, and on my iPhone and iPad. I've been testing it out for a while , and I daresay setting new records for dumbassery in my feedback -- you don't want to hear the laugh that engenders, trust me. And it's everything you've come to expect from Jim and Peter, and more. They've both got articles in the first issue, Peter an article on the balkanization of Mac gaming, and Jim a welcome letter:
In 1994, I helped start a Web site that would later be sold to Macworld. I started publishing on the Internet because I believed it was the publishing platform of the future. Almost 20 years later, I have chosen Apple’s Newsstand for the very same reason.
The first issue of The Loop magazine features some great writers covering music, design, technology, games and Apple — some of my favorite topics. I hope you enjoy it!
Like Marco Arment's The Magazine, however, which they credit for inspiring The Loop Magazine, Jim and Peter have also collected together some amazing collaborators, including Matt Gammell, Jodan Rudess, Ben Bajarin, Michael Simmons, and Holly Winewell, aka Brenda Singer. And that's just the first issue.
Also like The Magazine, the Loop Magazine will publish new issues every two weeks, and the subscription will run $1.99 a month. Unlike Arment, a noted developer who coded his own app with design help from Pacific Helm, Jim and Peter are staying focused on their journalistic strengths here, and handed off the development heavy lifting to Jamie Smyth and Daniel Genser at TypeEngine. The results are pretty damn good.
The Loop Magazine is clean, elegant, and fast. It uses the familiar menu button and sidebar layout (though eschews the hamburger and basement design for an arrow and slide-over panel). A Share Sheet lets you send links for the various articles via Mail, Messages, Twitter, Facebook, App.net, or copy them to the clipboard. There aren't any The Magazine-style popovers, at least not yet, or integration with read-later services like Instapaper or Pocket. The former probably isn't necessary. The latter would be nice in a future update.
A great app experience is one thing, though. Content is what's going to make or break any publication, print, online, or in-app. The Loop Magazine is off to a great start in that regard, and Jim and Peter have been around the industry long enough, and have just exactly the kind of connections necessary, to keep fielding great issues for months and years to come.
Marco Arment's The Magazine has evolved into its own, unique voice. There's room for lots of those, and I'm thrilled, as a reader, we're getting more of them, starting with The Loop. There's a free trial subscription, so check it out and let me know what you think.
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Note: Peter Cohen, who co-founded The Loop with Jim, also works here on iMore. Jim told me about the Loop Magazine long before Peter joined us at iMore, however, and I haven't discussed this review with either of them. Still, I'd recommend checking out other reviews to make sure you get as well-rounded an opinion of The Loop Magazine as possible.