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!


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.

iTunes for Magazines given a name…

January 5, 2010

Last years announcement that Hearst, Condé Nast, Time Inc, News Corporation and Meredith would join forces to create a new publishing standard has finally been given a name. The “iTunes of the magazine world” that they are hoping to create will be called Next Issue Media.

Not the most catchy or adventurous of names but the domain has been purchased and has a brief run down of what they hope to achieve plus contact details. Good luck to them, a great step forward in publishing. 2010 could really see this venture grow from strength to strength.

Next Issue Media

Drop your linen and stop your grinin…

December 30, 2009

The Financial Times reports that Apple have scheduled a special media event for January 26th 2010. So is this for the eagerly awaited tablet or merely a series of Mac updates or just a new range of iPods?

Popular consensus leads most to think it is an announcement of some kind concerning the tablet, but not necessarily a release.

If the iPhone has been nicknamed “the Jesus phone” by some, then the upcoming tablet must be its old man.

Between Apple and Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated demo, 2010’s hottest gadget could throw open the whole publishing industry into a new and genuinely exciting arena. eMags for the masses, magazines on iTunes… that sort of thing.

Finally we can get interactive, touchscreen, electronic magazines. What a few years ago looked like future technology and almost sci-fi is now upon us. Ok, we’re no talking Buck Rogers here I know but it’s still the sort of gadget that can spark a new tech war like the iPod did and eReader failed to. This could be the droid we’ve been looking for.

Tablet or not a lot of eyes will be on Apple on January 26th, if it’s good you’ll be able to read about it here.

Digital Partnership finally announced…

December 8, 2009

Today see the official announcement of what we all knew was coming, a partnership between print publishers to help secure a future in digital magazines.

Hearst, Condé Nast, Time Inc, Meredith and News Corporation have formed an independent venture to help develop open standards for a new “digital storefront” and related technologies.

There are four parts to their agreement:

1) To create a highly featured common reading application capable of rendering the distinctive look and feel of each publication
2) To create a robust publishing platform optimized for multiple devices, operating systems and screen sizes
3) To create a consumer storefront offering an extensive selection of reading options
4) To create a rich array of innovative advertising opportunities

Beyond the publications of the equity partners, the venture will welcome other publishers to offer their content via this new digital platform. Publishers will derive revenue from content and advertising sales, as well as from print subscriptions.

For publishers and advertisers, the venture will offer an attractive, cost-efficient, consumer-focused environment. Advertisers will be able to utilize innovative formats that benefit from the highly engaging, interactive nature of this new medium. In addition to entirely new magazine and newspaper reading experiences, content selections may ultimately include books, comic books, blogs and other media.

The whole press release can be found here

So there we go, a big announcement indeed and a good one to end the year on. 2010 will be a significant year for eMags and digital publishing in general. What does this mean for smaller, more independent publishers? And how will some of the other bigger companies respond? What will the likes of Future, Bauer and Dennis do next year?

Only time shall tell…

In the Air Tonight

December 3, 2009

(Ok, that’s possibly the worst headline ever I know… and Phil Collins has naff all to do with Adobe, but heh!)

So with Time Inc’s announcement that SI Tablet be be built using Air, we take a (very brief) look at what it actually is…

Air or Adobe Integrated Runtime is a cross-platform program meant for building rich internet applications using Adobe Flash, Flex, HTML or Ajax, resulting in an App that can be run off your desktop as opposed to online.

Over 100 million installations of Air have taken place since launch in February 2008 with over 500 applications now available on the Adobe Air marketplace.

Air allows existing Flash, actionscript, HTML or JavaScript to be used to build a more traditional like desktop program. Basically you can get access to internet and rich media content through a non-browser desktop app. A good recent example of this would be the interactive trailer for upcoming movie Avatar, found here.

Because Air is a desktop app, it uses local systems and storage and is thus more flexible and efficient than a more limited, browser integrated application.

Because it is a desktop application it can also be operated offline meaning some aspects of an Air application can be used off line.

NYTimes Reader 2.0 allows yo to download a newspaper and then read it offline with updates happening only when an internet connection is re-established.

Adobe Air applications can be built using Dreamweaver CS4, Adobe Flash Builder or Flash CS4. It’s also worth noting that the Beta for Air 2.0 is now out and offers support for multi gesture interfaces, meaning even more options are available than what has been shown by Time Inc. Oh, and lets not forget; it’s free to build Air apps. So what ya waiting for!

More information on Adobe Air can be found here.

New video of SI Tablet

December 3, 2009

Tech Crunch have posted a rather badly filmed hands on look at the Sports Illustrated Tablet magazine from Time Inc.