richard branson 580x383 300x198 Official Launch: Richard Bransons Project iPad Magazine

The first truly digital magazine about creative people by creative people.” -Sir Richard Branson

This morning at a press conference in New York City at Manhattan’s Crosby Hotel, Richard Branson officially launched his newest endeavor,”Project,” the world’s first iPad Magazine. Months ago, Giovanni Donaldson, a principal at Virgin Management began working on a project to get Virgin back into the publishing world. “The future lies in apps, not on shelves,” says Branson. Donaldson approached Richard’s daughter, Holly Branson, who was based in Virgin Management as Project Manager and together they took the project forward. The result of just a few months of work is Project, a monthly magazine that will change daily, hourly, by the minute, featuring innovators in their field, economists, authors, world famous chefs and interactive advertising. It is edited by Anthony Noguera, former editor-in-chief of FHM, and is the first international magazine created specifically for the iPad.

“It’s the most exciting thing to happen to publishing since William Caxton fired up the printing press,” says Noguera
“It’s an agenda setting magazine that spotlights the people around the world. The people we’ll be covering haven’t only influenced the fields in which they work, they revolutionize them.”

The editorial will be grouped into technology, entrepreneurs, entertainment and design. It looks like a magazine and acts like a website. The content is hi-def with beautiful typography. The layout features 12 frames of Jeff Bridges each with a press and play audio control, Earth 2.0, an exciting visual tour of Tokyo, and interactive country-specific advertising that is just as exciting as the editorial. For example, a Jaguar car advertisement that lets you stroke and color in the car. Want to hear what a Jaguar sounds like? Press the ad and you’ll hear an engine roar loud enough to drown out Branson himself. “Sound is a really potent tool,” says Noguera, laughing.

The ability to share the content through social media will be coming soon. “We’re not afraid of sharing our content on the Internet and we don’t think it will affect sales,” says Project’s marketing head, Mike Burgess.

Going forward, Branson wants it to be like Wikipedia, with as many people contributing as possible. Project will cost £1.79 in the UK and $2.99 in the US with new content refreshing throughout the month.

On Branson’s rivalry with a certain Australian media mogul and his soon to be out Daily iPad newspaper, he commented, “This is not a battle, not a war, it’s the future of publishing. But, if they call it a battle, we’ll accept that battle as a battle on quality.”

See a video of Project here.