Augmented reality graces Grazia cover

March 23, 2010

One of Britain’s most popular handbag fillers Grazia, launched today with a very interesting marketing gimmick. If you buy the issue (or steal it) you can access special augmented reality content through use of a webcam or iPhone.

Simply go to a specific web address, hold the magazine up to a web cam and watch cover star Florence Welch come to life and sing & dance. It’s all very clever and it’s a grand marketing tool as this story has made all the news sites and will no doubt help shift a few more copies.

The interesting thing here is the iPhone compatibility. I have no doubt that augmented reality systems will make a big impact over the coming years, and devices such as the iPhone or Android capable phones seem to handle it pretty well. But when you can combine a 3G enabled mobile device with a print advert or piece of packaging we will start to see some truly innovative advertising concepts.

For more info regarding some possible augmented reality systems, check out this talk from


Wired Magazine to launch on iPad by summer

February 16, 2010

Everyones favorite posh publishers Condé Nast, have announced that their kick-ass Wired magazine will indeed grace the touching screens of Jobs’ latest creation by this summer.

Announced at the awesome 2010 TED conference by Wired’s Chris Anderson and Adobe’s Jeremy Clark the news was no surprise really, in fact it was an inevitability. Since I was not fortunate enough (or rich enough) to be at the TED conference I didn’t see the demo myself, although it seems the mag is fairly similar to that of New York Times.

Readers can scroll horizontally through the magazine, when they see an article they like they scroll vertically. The iPad also changes from landscape to portrait depending on which way the unit is held.

It also contain some interactivity. The demo showed Adobe’s Clark touching a 360 degree animation of a new Camaro, showing how advertisers could utalise the new technology. Except it’s not new. 360’s have been around for years on web sites and I’ve been doing them for 2 years inside interactive magazines. It’s nothing new or groundbreaking, it’s simply taken Condé Nast to push it one step further by making it compatible with iPad Applications.

By his own admission Anderson acknowledges the iPad magazine is only “part of the answer”. He’s right of course, but the fact that they have already started down this road and have announced a rough launch date means that “part of the answer” puts them ahead of the pack. No news on if this roll out on the UK edition or if it’s just the US version.

It’s going to be very interesting to see how existing eMag publishers tackle the iPad. What will Dennis Publishing do? They currently publish the three most successful consumer eMags around, how will they embrace the iPad? Will they even try? Will Redwood Publishing conquer the iPad market for contract titles. WIll IPC Media come out of nowhere or will Future tackle their decreasing profits with electoic editions? Who knows, and who for the next five minutes, who cares? I’ve got a coffee waiting…

New bigger KindleDX to save publishing industry?

May 7, 2009


Can the new DX save publishing? Of course not, just another sensationalist headline. It should really have read “KindleDX is er, bigger…”

Firstly I’m not sure how popular these devices are, in central London I have only ever seen 3 people use an e-reader, having got my hands on a couple of different models I have always found them slow, crap to look at and bulky.

I’m not sure at what point someone said “you know what we really need is to make this bigger”.
Do Amazon really expect people to lug that thing around just so they can read a 50 pence news paper they could roll up and stick in their bag?

Ex-Future Publishing owner, now curator of TED Chris Anderson shared his views on KindleDX and the future of newspaper publishing…

If people are open to the idea of a large electronic reader than they will be open to the idea of new formats, new ways of presenting information. Do we really need to imitate printed newspapers on an e-reader especially by making it bigger? Maybe it’s that familiarity that attracts people? I feel more research needs to be shared with publishers before we start making more work for already overworked people.

I would much rather see a colour reader or a thinner reader. I know they are working on this but $489 for a large black and white solid plastic e-reader just seems like an inaccessible luxury, and what the industry needs is an affordable fashion accessory, like the iPhone.

Not to be completely negative, I like the fact it has no-fee built in 3G wireless, and can read PDFs. They may well be close to something special, they’re not too far away from being able to stream content and when they can do that in colour, we’ll start to see some really interesting publications.