Richard Branson’s iPad magazine

British billionaire and Virgin Group chair Richard Branson will unveil an iPad-specific magazine next week — to be titled Project, or Maverick, depending on your source. (UPDATE: the mag, called Project, launched ahead of schedule, costs $2.99 and features a rather dapper Jeff Bridges). He expects 8 million people will own Apple’s new tablet computer by the end of the year (although at nearly a grand a pop, they’re not exactly stocking stuffer material). The announcement comes in tandem with Rupert Murdoch’s newly announced iPad newspaper, The Daily, currently in development in Manhattan.

AdAge reports that Branson’s mag will focus on the entrepreneurial space race, with focus on the business, travel and technology ideas that Branson is known for. The audience will be the same people that read entrepreneurial-heavy Fast Company and tech bible Wired.

Branson owns half of Virgin Atlantic airline, a company that boasts wireless connections and power outlets at every seat. Mashable suggests that “it sounds like this could simply be a digital in-flight magazine. Virgin already distributes a handful of printed magazines on its flights, including Seatback and entertainment title Electric!, which are handed out to customers rather than marketed to the general public.”

As publishers continue to experiment with digital editions of their magazines, we may see more iPad-only publications spring up in competition. This is only one possible future: Advertising revenue from tablet computers has barely makes a blip compared to the print advertising world, and iPad app development can cost more than it’s worth. But at least those ad numbers, however small, are growing — the same can’t be said of their dead-tree counterparts.