Want to try out Wired Magazine for iPad, but you're not too thrilled about paying US$3.99 for the latest issue? In an attempt to encourage potential subscribers to push the buy button in the future, and to show off some new features in the app, Wired 19.05 (otherwise known as the May 2011 edition) is being offered for free. To get the free issue, simply download the free app and visit the Wired Library once you've launched it. You'll see an issue at the top marked Free Download, and with a tap you can download the 380 MB file.
Conde Nast, publisher of Wired, isn't going to lose money on this proposition. Adobe has sponsored the issue, much like how Lincoln has paid for up to 200,000 passes for The New York Times paywall.
As usual, the magazine is chock-a-block with ads, but many of the ads in this issue are showing Wired's commitment to making advertising both more interactive and more social. The interactive ads range from one that has you search for four Lexus hybrids to a rather boring Ameritrade ad that plays a teaser for an iPad app when touched. In some ads, you can brag about your achievement by tweeting friends or updating Facebook.
There's also animated content; in a one page article titled "Why Soda Goes Pop," the equation for Henry's Law appears in animated carbon dioxide bubbles. There's a video about lawn darts, and in an article about earbuds, a small info pop-up appears when you tap on each brand of bud.
I actually found most of the ads to be more compelling than the content in this issue, which is why I haven't had a subscription to Wired since the late 1990s. Playing "Where's Waldo?" in ads is more interesting than the "Pat the Bunny" type of interactive content that the magazine seems to be dredging up.
However, it's worth the time and bandwidth to give the Wired for iPad app a look while it's still available for free. The app is currently getting awful reviews in the App Store for losing previous issue purchases that readers had made, but if you've never bought an issue before, you'll be safe. Be sure to check out the gallery below for some screenshots of some of the content and ads.