Popular Mechanics has been spending the summer crafting an iPad version of their monthly print magazine. In the meantime, they have released the Popular Mechanics Interactive Edition, which serves as a preview edition of things to come.

Unlike other iPad magazines already available (Wired, Popular Science, Men’s Health Magazine), the Popular Mechanics Interactive Edition is not based on the current print edition, but is an entirely different publication. With Popular Mechanics already available as a digital edition through Zinio, the publishers decided to try something new for the iPad (for this issue anyway).

Editor-In-Chief Jim Meigs comments from within the app that:

“This interactive edition has many of the features and departments you’d see in a print edition of PM. But the contents have been specifically selected to show off the many ways users can interact with stories and images in this new format.”

The Popular Mechanics Interactive Edition is not a finished product, nor is it intended to be. Rather, it gives readers the opportunity to see what is coming and to offer suggestions, while allowing the editors to see what works and doesn’t work. Priced at just $1.99, I found the issue fresh, creative and full of interesting article choices and photos.

The biggest drawback: currently the issue is only viewable in portrait format, which at times is confusing.

Worth the price of the app itself is the Interactive Earthquake Finder, which shows in graphic form the latest U.S. seismic activity, plus the top ten quakes since 1860. The moving chart is colorful, easy-to-read and timely.

Other features includes video from Bonneville Speed Week and an animated fly-through of a Red Bull air race.  I strongly encourage our readers to preview the Popular Mechanics Interactive Edition, available now in the App Store.