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Hands-on with the Star Wars Blu-ray: Early Access iOS app

We know, we know. You're fit to be tied waiting for the complete Star Wars collection to be released on Blu-ray in September, but there's good news for impatient iPad owners here in the US. You see, some of the collection's bonus materials can be had for free a bit early -- as in tomorrow -- courtesy of the Star Wars Blu-ray: Early Access App. Even better, we've got video of the app in action plus a gallery of pics for you to drool over until you can download it yourself. And for folks abroad or those with an iPhone or iPod touch, the same sneak peek will be available in August.

The app itself is a ported version of what you'll see on the Blu-ray discs, but there's some added touchscreen functionality -- pinch-to-zoom on the concept art and users can spin props and models with the flick of a finger in the "Collection" section. The app also lets you selectively download the content, so all that artwork and video won't eat up an undue portion of your iPad's memory. After getting handsy with it in person, we found the app easy to use and the content compelling (where else can you examine the Death Star up close?), but we were left wishing that there was a bit... more. Of course, the lion's share of extras are reserved for the paying customers come September 16th -- though we were disappointed to discover that, currently, there are no plans to make it all available on the app even if you buy the Blu-rays. Regardless, you get what you pay for, and that makes this gratis addition to the Star Wars universe a darn good deal.

Update: Grab the app and try it out for yourself at the iTunes link below!