Home Features Seven outstanding content-rich multimedia apps – Features
Features - February 4, 2021

Seven outstanding content-rich multimedia apps – Features

Over the past year, I”ve been discovering content-rich multimedia apps, designed primarily for the iPad, in the iOS App Store.

Some iOS developers have been coming up with new ways to present plays, books, photos, artwork, music, magazine content, and other materials, often adding both entertainment value and depth to the static, analog sources from which they drew. So, I decided to draw some added attention to seven stunning apps that have stood out from the crowd thanks to their interactivity and design, as well as their content.

Barefoot World Atlas

Barefoot World Atlas opens with a cartoonish globe, overlaid with drawings of animals, buildings, and other landmarks, and natural wonders. You can spin the globe and just tap on a country or a drawing to get more information.

This one’s a gem.

Where to Get It: £2.99; iOS App Store

The Orchestra

The Orchestra is stunning in that it allows you to view many aspects of an orchestra in action. You can change what you view – the score, commentary, closeups of different sections, and so on – on the fly, while also listening to the piece without pause.

The Orchestra details, from multiple perspectives, the who, what, when, where, and why of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, Stravinsky’s The Firebird, and five other pieces.

You can view each of the pieces in a variety of ways: on your screen, you can look at separate close-up videos of the conductor, the woodwinds, and the strings at the top of the screen, listen to or read commentary by the conductor or musicians as the piece plays, and view the score in real time on the bottom of the screen. You can also read about the background of the piece – and its place in the history of orchestral music.

Beautifully designed, The Orchestra, with its simple yet robust interactive multimedia elements, represents the power of the iPad, and skillful app producers, to make the complex accessible, and enjoyable.

Where to Get It: £9.99 iOS App Store


This The Masque of the Red Death screenshot shows off the beautiful layout and captivating images in iPoe

A true treat, iPoe: The Interactive and Illustrated Edgar Allen Poe Collection beautifully enhances the writing of Edgar Allan Poe with illustrations by David Garcia Forés, most of which are subtly animated and interactive. The spooky soundtrack and occasional sound effects add perfect ambience.

iPoe includes the poem “Annabel Lee” and three short stories: “The Oval Portrait,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Masque of the Red Death.” You also get a brief, well-written biography of Poe and a sketchbook that features line drawings of images from the stories, which you can swipe to reveal their colourings. Simply superb.

Where to Get It: £2.49; iOS App Store

There is also a new iPoe 2 app available from the iOS App Store.

To The Brink: JFK And The Cuban Missile Crisis

To The Brink refashions materials from the JFK Library and Museum into a multimedia history lesson that manages to be as dramatic and gripping as it is informative.

Each day of the 13-day standoff includes a well-chosen quote and a brief summary of the situation on that day; most include photos, fascinating primary documents, and slideshows of meetings that pack an extraordinary amount of drama, thanks to the clear audio recordings of the meetings that play along with the slides.

To the Brink can be easily absorbed in an hour or less, and it’s difficult to imagine a better learning experience packed into the length of a typical college lecture.

Where to Get It: Free; iOS App Store

My London Story

The professionalism with which My London Story has been produced is exemplified by the thought that’s gone into its interface.

My London Story is comprised of nonfiction narrative stories that are as precisely located as possible within London. The app, which issues a new edition of 10 stories every two months, aims to build a deep, dense, and nuanced view of the city through the eyes of the people who live there.

Where to Get It: Free; iOS App Store

To This Day

Shane Koyczan’s powerful voice combined with excellent animation make To This Day a must-download app.

“To This Day” is both the name of an app and the title of the poem it’s based on, Shane Koyczan’s moving verse about bullying. Koyczan’s stirring voice and the accompanying flip-book style animations have just enough wit to make difficult material engaging and entertaining. Also, “To This Day” invites repeat viewings, as many pages have animation sequences that change when you revisit them.

In short, it’s a must-download for parents and teachers, one that could spark many useful conversations – and, at the very least, provide some solace and inspiration to millions of kids.

Where to Get It: Free; iOS App Store

WWF Together

WWF Together, an app produced by the World Wildlife Foundation, is an exemplar of how to successfully package rich, interactive, multimedia material that can appeal to both children and adults while effectively promoting a cause. Users can learn about a dozen endangered or threatened animals (giant pandas, snow leopards, whales, polar bears, and more) via photos, videos, text, and interactive elements.

WWF Together does mention the work it’s doing to preserve the animals, and what more needs to be done. The app includes relatively subtle appeals for help that become harder to ignore as you immerse yourself in this digital world of animals.

Where to Get It: Free; iOS App Store

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