MagDesigner has a new home!

July 4, 2010

New home for

If you’re reading this, then you shouldn’t be. You see, this here blog is now old hat. It has been magically turned into

It’s bigger, better and a lot more blue. There are all the usual news stories and eMag round ups, but now the with the edition of platform reviews, eMag reviews, glossary and features with lots more content coming over the months.

It really is your one stop shop for all things to do with digital magazines.

This WordPress blog will more than likely be ignored from now on (you’ve been good to me though…)

So, get yer ass over there, bookmark it, subscribe, get rss feeds and remember to tell your friends about!

Click HERE!


Steve Jobs still planning a magazine store?

February 5, 2010

Silicon Alley Insider has an interesting little piece up about Mr Jobs visiting the new York Times newsroom and dropping some heavy hints about an online magazine store being geared up.

Apparently a book store was at the top of his priorities, presumably because the Amazon Kindle and similar products are already out and about and selling like (expensive and crap) hot cakes.

Why Apple couldn’t release an iBook store and an iMagazine store at the same time is beyond me, hopefully it’s because they are working with publishers like Next Issue Media in order to produce and industry wide standard, like .ePubs are for books.

Guess we’ll find out sometime down the road…

New York Times on the Apple iPad

January 29, 2010

The most interesting part for print publishers to come out of Apple’s iPad announcement is the above demo of the New York Times iPad Application. Considering the team had 3 weeks to design and build the App, I’m very impressed.

Synching to the iPhone seems like a very good idea, as does the text resize option and even the amount of columns per page. It’s also nice to see some video in there and updatable content. It will be very interesting to see their pricing structure for such a cool ‘ting. I haven’t bought a newspaper for a long time, but I’d subscribe to that.

iBook Store and reader

January 28, 2010

Finally something has arrived to piss all over the Kindle and the eReader. The iPad is almost perfect for electronic book publishing. The high resolution screen, long battery life (10 hours) and one month standby time make it a perfect coffee table layabout (if not a little expensive).

The most interesting thing though is the iBook store. It’s so obvious and simple it will undoubtedly work like a charm and within the next 6 months easily become the premier distribution facility for eBooks. Apple are also wise enough to use the eBook standard, ePub, then take it one step further by making it colour (shock horror) and even add video content.

The iBook Store basically does everything magazine publishers wanted an imaginary iMagazine Store to do. But this should not be overlooked by magazine publishers. It’s not just for use by book publishers, it is simply another means in which to channel your content.

Can Apple’s iPad save the publishing industry?

January 27, 2010

So it’s here. The Apple iPad has been unveiled and it is… well… a big iPhone really. But without the phone.

To sum it up in nice little bullet points:

16, 32 and 64GB versions
3G connectivity at an extra cost, but unrestricted.
9.7 inch LED screen
Built in speaker plus headphone socket
0.5 inches thick
1Ghz A4 processor
10 hour battery life
PDF viewer
Weigh 1.5 pounds

16 GB 32 GB 64 GB
Wi-Fi $499 $599 $699
Wi-Fi + 3G $629 $729 $829

The WiFi only models will go on sale in 60 days, the 3G models around 90 days. Possible UK release date of June / July.

Now the important stuff for publishers:

No Flash support
Apple launch iBook Store for book publishers only using the ePub standard format
A new version of the iPhone software development allows development of iPad apps (available now)

…which basically means if you want to publish a magazine on the iPad it needs to be done through the production and distribution of an Application available through the Apple App Store only. HTML 5 compatibility is unclear at this point.

Unfortunately because Apple don’t stream the keynote anymore you have to rely on other people accounts… Steve Jobs did demo an example of New York Times which, as far as I can tell works as an App but includes embedded video and is as interactive as your gonna get. As soon as the Keynote video goes up, we’ll know for sure.

The New York Times newspaper App for Apple’s iPad

So where does this leave Sports illustrated, Adobe Air and Next Issue Media’s standardised eMag format? Well, Adobe Air Apps won’t work on the iPad. It will work on the HP, Archos and Dell tablets. So do Next Issue Media ignore the iPad and concentrate on Adobe Air style eMags for PC based tablets. Do they change course and concentrate on iPad Apps only and ignore PC’s? Simply they now have to do both.

Apple haven’t really bought calm to the confusion of modern publishing. We were hoping for some swanky new standard, cross platform eMag wonder. What we got is the realisation that it won’t be that easy, at least not for a while yet. Instead we need to go back to last years motto “content is King”. What publishers need to do now is find a way of distributing content across multiple platforms; print, web, Flash based eMag, Adobe Air eMag, Podcasts, iPhone App and now iPad App, maybe even ePub books.

New York Times best sellers list on the iBook Store

And Adobe? Flash has been snubbed once again, whether it’s because it drains processor speed or because it makes an App store redundant remains uncertain. What it does mean though is that Flash will still be integral for other mediums such as tablet PCs. But also that Adobe need to cater for Apple Apps and CS5 Flash does exactly that. You can basically export directly to iPhone App and to Air and to SWF within seconds. Flash will still be an indispensable tool for publishers.

So over the next few days we’ll gauge reaction of industry folk, consumers and publishers. We’ll see the tablet in action once Apple release the keynote speech for viewing and hopefully we’ll get UK release details soon.

The day that changes publishing?

January 27, 2010

So today is the day many off us media types and computer geeks have been speculating about for some time now. Apple should unveil, in some capacity, a new tablet computer. The Keynote takes place at 6pm good-old-English time and can be followed on practically any news or gadget site out there.

To say this product launch is important would be a massive understatement. The Apple Tablet has the potential to “rescue” the publishing industry and give it purpose and focus, much like Apple have done with the music industry through iTunes. It could be a major step forward in interactive magazine enjoyment and distribution.

It could also have a negative effect on current eMag publishers like Ceros or eDition. Since it is unlikely that the Apple Tablet will support Flash content where will these publishers stand and how will they adapt? Are mobile Apps the only way forward? Will HTML 5 be the answer? Can Adobe Air become the new platform of choice. Or will someone finally give us multiple publishing options in one handy package?

It’s also worth noting that even if Apple do announce a Tablet today it won’t be on sale for another month at least, analysts (posh word for “estimators”) suggest a March 1st release. Because of this there will be little word on pricing structures or 3G network providers.

As soon as Apple announce something tonight, you’ll be able to read about it right here. And of course everywhere else on the internet. And the papers. And TV of course, and maybe the radio, possibly also through usage of smoke signals and morse code. Basically it’s going to be hard to not hear about it.

eMoney down eDrain

January 5, 2010

So apparently Sony have signed a further 19 publishers up to their eBook store. This means readers can now buy full colour, glossy and well designed magazines especially for their greyscale, low graphic-capacity small devices. What a load of balls.
No further comment is needed, it’s a shite idea.