Apps Gloriously Display the Diversity of Life (Magazine)

On this day 69 years ago, the U.S. military base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (USA) was bombed.  The attack famously thrust the United States into World War II.  Having noticed the Life magazine apps were updated today, I thought it would be fitting to download the iPad version and review some of the images from “the day that would live in infamy.”  Not only was I not disappointed by the app’s slideshow of the event, I was impressed by the various collections of images and the astounding range of emotions the slideshows imparted.  The editors have appropriately injected pathos and humor to every imaginable aspect of the human experience.  The app truly engages the viewer and encourages exploration through their conglomeration of over 10 million extraordinary photographs.

Drawing on the storehouse of Life and Getty Images, the app covers seven general areas including editor’s picks, most popular, news, celebrity, sports, travel and animals.  Not merely containing archival images, the library adds over 3,000 new photos every day.  The Pearl Harbor slideshow was found in the most popular section, alongside a series remembering Elizabeth Edwards, the former wife of a disgraced senator who lost her courageous fight with cancer today.  In a quirky and almost distasteful juxtaposition, other topics included “39 Sexy Cheerleaders” and “Eva Longoria Parker at Her Hottest.”  But that’s life, and everyone can find something fascinating or bizarre.

Read more about this must-have app after the jump.

Baby Boomers can reminisce with some of the most reprinted “Life‘s Best Beatles Photos” or marvel at the train wreck that is “Partying with David Arquette,” complete with blinged out teeth and Lakers’ clown costume.  The bizarre “Vladimir Putin’s Manliest Moments” reveals a haunting shirtless image.  “30 Dumb Inventions” showcases versions of the then-world’s smallest television (1966 and about 15 times bigger than an iPhone), TV glasses from 1963 which look like MyVu’s with 24 inch rabbit ears (telescoping antennae, not the fuzzy variety), and illuminated tires (1961) that make spinners and LED runners look woefully retro. 

Each photo has a descriptive and sometimes humorous caption.  (Under Hunter S. Thompson’s portrait in “Famous Literary Drunks & Addicts,” his drug of choice is listed as “everything.”)  If the viewer chooses to share a photo via email, Facebook or Twitter, the resulting attachment includes published date, photographer and the informative caption.

The app is free and ad supported.  Every tenth slide is an advertisement for a stock photo company.  It can be a bit jarring to be fondly strolling down memory lane only to be surprised by a silly unrelated ad, but it is a small price to pay for the hours of enjoyment this app provides.  Not so easy to overlook is the failure of the search function.  I attempted a few searches (including John Lennon and Pearl Harbor) with no results whatsoever.  It just didn’t work at all.

Life Mobile is the native app for the iPhone/iPod Touch (running iOS 3.0 or later and iOS 4.0 tested).  The Life for iPad app has been optimized for iOS 4.2.  and is my new “let me show you what the iPad is good for” app.

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