Top 10 iPad Magazines of 2012 (So Far)

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Magazines are back. After a long decade of losing to Web-based content and even their own websites, magazines have found a new life with tablet users. On an iPad, suddenly magazines have their mojo back - long-form stories, stunning photography and photo-text integration just like the old glossy dead-tree edition with added bonuses that only touch screens and dual-core processors can deliver.

What magazines look great on the iPad, and which ones are you missing out on? Here's our completely subjective list of 10 magazines worthy of your digital tablet:

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Wired

If you’re an iPad periodical reader, then Wired, the general-interest tech/geek/computer magazine from Conde Nast, is a must-download - even if issues remain about its usability. Because Wired doesn’t support background downloading, you can’t multitask while downloading an issue, which runs about 500 megabytes; and some pages are rendered as images, which can make the text appear pixelated at times. Even with these issues, you’ve got to read Wired on the iPad. It’ll come around. $1.99 per issue; $19.99 per year; free for print subscribers; two years of back issues.

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Time

This iconic title is finally available in your iPad Newsstand, but not yet upgraded to support the retina display of the iPad 3. About 100 to 150 megabytes per issue, and it arrives to your iPad a few days before the print edition with video, photo galleries and multimedia content that makes it worth it, despite the glitches. $2.99 per month; $29.99 per year; $4.99 per single issue; free for print subscribers.

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Sports Illustrated

If you’re downloading iPad magazines, Sports Illustrated is a no-brainer with double the photos as the print edition, video essays and commentary that make the iPad version a rich experience. Plus, there’s the Swimsuit Issue with all sorts of rich media bells and whistles. It’s now available in Newsstand, but still not updated to support the retina display of the iPad 3, and it can be a little crashy at times. $3.99 per month; $38.99 per year; $4.99 per single issue.

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Tab Times

TabTimes for iPad, a business news magazine entirely devoted to tablets and delivered as a free iPad application, hit the App Store in May 2012 with stories from a staff of journalists culled from the ranks of PC Magazine, MacLife, PC World, Infoworld, Time.com and Family Circle. Its content is geared toward managers, IT professionals and business people who are looking for fresh ways to use their tablets in a changing world. A working model for how a tablet app can display dynamic content. One downside: Tab Times requires WiFi or a good data connection; content cannot be read offline. Free.

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Self

This women’s magazine from Conde Nast with a focus on weight loss, fitness, lifestyle and fashion is a perfect fit for an enhanced iPad version - exercise routines are now videos instead of photo spreads; celebrity recipes are now celebrity cooking videos; workout music playlists come to life as, well, workout music. Standard glitches apply. $1.99 per month; $19.99 per year; $3.99 per single issue; free for print subscribers.

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Swipe

All these apps can get confusing. What you need a periodical dedicated to delivering you the most highly vetted reviews of iOS-based apps for your iPad - and that’s what Swipe is - an HTML 5-built, interactive magazine that will help you decide which apps you want and what you need. Free.

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New Yorker

It’s the industry standard for long-form journalism, and with retina-display compatibility, the New Yorker is also the industry standard in iPad magazines. Get your national affairs, international news, New York City cultural listings and line drawing cartoons about board rooms and dinner parties here. Not too many fancy bells and whistles, other than curated servings from the archive. Still no bookmark feature, which is a common flaw with many of these iPad-optimized magazines. $5.99 per month; $59.99 per year; free for print subscribers.

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Inked

This is a niche lifestyle magazine appeals to the rebellious sorts who sport their tattoos at work. But the coverage goes beyond ink to cover fashion, music and edgy pop culture. Now that it’s available in iTunes Newsstand, higher expectations should yield some future Inked goodness; at the moment, however, the iPad version isn’t much different than the print version. $19.99 for 10 issues.

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O the Oprah Magazine

It’s everything you love about Oprah, but on your iPad. There’s Dr. Oz talking about health; Dr. Phil talking about relationships; and the re-boot of the Oprah Book Club that uses social media to engage and connect her readers. On the iPad version, you have online buying options for products featured in the magazine. It can crash and has some bugs. $1.99 per month; $19.99 per year.

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Consumer Reports

This magazine has had our backs for decades, helping us decide what’s worth the money and what was trash with their in-depth product testing and reviews. Now in Newsstand, Consumer Reports gives iPad readers access to exclusive video content. 200 to 250 megabytes per issue. $2.99 per month; $24.99 per year; $4.99 per single issue; free for print subscribers.

What's your favorite iPad magazine? Let us know in the comments.