While you’re waiting for Rupert Murdoch’s digital publication entitled The Daily, why not take a closer look at Project, Richard Branson’s take on digital print? The time is now because the British media magnate, industrialist, airline operator, and what not has decided to give away the inaugural issue of its iPad-only publication dubbed Project:

Courtesy of Virgin America, Virgin Blue and Virgin Mobile Canada, issue one will be free to all people downloading it between 23rd & 29th December.

It’s a neat marketing move that’ll drum up excitement as Sir Branson breaks into publishing with his Virgin Digital Publishing venture. The media group also announced the winner of their contest to design the front cover of the upcoming crowd-sourced issue of Project due "early next year."

Project was announced just a day after media mogul Rupert Murdoch began hyping a digital-only publication for iPad called The Daily, in the works by NewsCorp’s newly founded digital publishing venture.

While The Daily won’t hit the App Store until sometime next month, Project launched a month ago with great fanfare. The first issue came with a five bucks price tag, now free for a limited time. The second issue will arrive on the App Store on January 7.

The publication has gotten media watchers pay notice. Billed as the "world’s first iPad-only magazine," its focus includes popular topics like entertainment, travel, business, design, and international culture. In addition, Project features videos, galleries, music, and daily updated content. Creative concept is an interesting mixture of magazine and newspaper content augmented by rich social features,  several levels of interaction, and a healthy dose of bells and whistles.

On the downside, some people complain about overly complex multitouch controls and too simplified a content. Like many magazine apps, Project contains a free reader app that lets you browse, sample, and buy individual issues as in-app purchases for five bucks a pop. To get your free issue of Project 1 now, go ahead and grab the free Project app from the App Store and choose the free Project 1 edition from the built-in newsstand.