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…

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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
Microphone
0.5 inches thick
1Ghz A4 processor
Accelerometer
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.