The wait is over. There is now an ad-supported version of the Schlock Mercenary app for iPhone and iPad. If you're one of the dead-sexy folks carrying an Apple device around, you can now be deadlier, sexier, and smarter than ever before at no charge. The app is right here. This has the same basic feature set as the subscription app, with three key differences:
1) You don't have to spend any money.
2) There are ads.
3) There is no 3-day read-ahead. You still get all of the content that appears on the web -- strips, footnotes, and blog posts -- and you get the strips a full 1000 pixels wide instead of the 780px resolution seen on the web. Why the larger format? Because it looks completely awesome this way on the iPad, and it allows us to zoom panel-by-panel on the smaller screen of the iPhone.
You still have some questions, I know. Here is a FAQ:
Q: What about Android? Can't Android users be deadly, sexy and smart?
A: Of course you can. JUST NOT YET. Gary at Plus 14, Ltd., is working on an Android version right now. We don't have a release date.
Q: Who is providing the ads?
Q: Are you making decent money on the ads?
A: It's been two days, and we have a whopping $1.75 to split between us. Our plans for wealth and world domination hinge upon you telling all your friends how cool this app is.
Q: Is the subscription app going away?
A: No. We've heard from many of our subscribers, and they love going ad-free while supporting the cartoonist and the app developer. We still have ideas for fun subscription-only things, too.
Q: How hard is it to switch back and forth from the subscription version to the free version?
A: It's all handled in the same app. When your subscription expires, you'll start seeing ads and you'll not be able to read 3 days ahead. When you buy a subscription the ads vanish and you can see into the future.
Q: How much of the Schlock Mercenary archive is stored on my device?
A: Only the strips you've read in the app. These have been pulled down from the server by the app. This cache can be flushed if you need the space for other stuff, but that means longer load times between comics if you go back to re-read.
Q: Why isn't the whole archive downloaded at once, and kept on the device forever?
A: Because Apple doesn't allow apps larger than a certain size to be distributed via 3G, and the full archive would take this app to about 70 times Apple's limit. Besides, with 700 megs of Schlock you wouldn't have room for as much of your deadly, sexy, smart music.