iPad Magazines: Doing It Wrong

I’ve seen several samples of iPad magazine proposals.

Most of them are just wrong.

First, your cover better show all the contents. If you think you can get away with the trick of print — exploitive blurbs only — you’re in for a rude awakening. Because people want to dive right in. They don’t want to open to a Cover and then have to go to a Table of Contents. The only format that needs a Table of Contents will be non-fiction books, period. Periodicals should have contents that are immediately apparent.

Second, your product is for reading. If you’re going to assault us with what you lot are calling Motion Covers, make them silent. That Sports Illustrated prototype cover that had all the player collisions, gruntings, crowd noises, etc — who the hell wants to be seated on a crowded jet and have some jock inflict that on us?! (Don’t tell me they can plug in earphones — they damn well won’t and I’m not giving them any chance to say Oops! in the future!)

Third, magazines are not TV or movies. If you’re really thinking you can have some atmospheric video to set the mood for an article, forget it. We don’t want or need such establishing shots. Embedded video should add to the content, be part of the content, not RAM-hogging and 3G download-defeating decoration.

Fourth, if your content scrolls, you’re dead. Don’t even bother trying to sell that effort to people. It won’t work. People are used to the print interface. This is why eBooks don’t scroll. Magazines shouldn’t, either.

What gets under my nose most of all is the slowness of Apple. Everyone out there is having to build custom tools to create these things. That shouldn’t be happening.

While Apple brought iWork’s Pages over to the iPad, it didn’t go far enough. As much as I want Pages to be a digital content creation platform, the way it currently handles multimedia elements is simply not good enough for digital content creation.

If Apple doesn’t get on the ball, Adobe is going to try to inflict that abomination AIR on everyone. That would retard the future of all digital content initiatives and create a chaotic market. Cross-platform “solutions” like that generally aim for the lowest common denominator and really go against the grain of why the iPad is full of Win.

And Steve Jobs knows what I mean too.

16 responses to “iPad Magazines: Doing It Wrong

  1. Agree 100%

  2. What does 3G speed have to do with it? AFAIK, you get a weekly/monthly file from the publisher and all the content is there. No need for Internet access afterwards. Isn’t this the great selling point? No HTML garbage? Just a smooth, executing file?

    I say let the market decide. Mag publishers change formats all the time. Maybe someone comes up with something interesting and the others evolve towards it.

    Geez, the iPad isn’t even here yet. Chill out! :-)

  3. >>>What does 3G speed have to do with it?

    Did you ever download the Enhanced Editions digital book of Bunny Munro? It was over 900MB. That file size is not permitted via 3G.

  4. Not sure what you meant by scroll. Do you mean having to access material off the screen? We do this all the time with web browsers. I guess you’re focused narrowly on magazines. OTOH, it does get tiring in apps where you have to finger slide to advance through the text (even if not scrolling). Tapping should always be an option.

    I agree with you about the covers–and also about not needing mood intros.

    In general, I hope the passion for “flash-type” MTV type mags with all sorts of embedded video goes by the wayside quickly. Many of us are readers not watchers!

    Plus, used sparingly, they can be more powerful. Now, photos are OK, but again in moderation.

  5. “Fourth, if your content scrolls, you’re dead. ”

    Huh, does that make the web dead too?

  6. @imabuddha and robinson:

    Yes, the Net as you knew it is dead, post-iPad. Touchscreens will change everything. And they are coming to the iMac too.

    Web Designers: Wake Up And Smell The Touchscreen Coffee!

    Touch Will Change Everything

    This is why I have a category for UI/Web Design in the Links posts.

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  8. You’re right. We want to read a magazine, not watch it. That’s called TV!

  9. Hey Mike – would appreciate some feedback on the Mobile Love app if you have a minute:


    tks! jen

  10. Magazines are to articles like albums are to singles. The iPad will do to magazines what the iPod did to music albums.

  11. Pingback: iPad Digital Publications: Reality check | iPad Watcher

  12. That looks interesting. Will put that and another post in Tuesday’s Links. Thanks.

  13. I’m not going to go into the philosophical debate of that. Just the idea of trying to distinguish between local-stored and streaming books gives me too big a headache.

  14. When buying a magazine you first flip through the content in order to evaluate the value for money.

    Probably not possible with iPad and tablets as you only get to see the cover.

    Many magazines have tear out coupons or reply cards, that could be replaced by an electronic form.

    Womens magazines (still the largest number and quantity in any newspaper shop) often have samples of perfume or make-up. Not possible on a tablet.

    Magazines get bought,read and then passed on to family or friends. Not possible with tablets.

    So both the advertisers and the consumers miss out possibilities and conveniences.

    [NOTE: I let your comment through but killed your spammy URL. Stop that.]

  15. It is a point of view for sure. But I disagree in most of the parts expressed by Mike. Also by Denis.
    I have the following question for Denis: isn’t Tv dead? How much time are you spending a day in front of TV compared to a Laptop?
    You guys are just missing the point: Ipad, just as Ipod is changing through marketing strong wheels the perception of former tools. Just remember: beginning of last Century we had printed paper, than radio, than Tv, than pagers (beepers) than internet, than mobile phones. It is a continuous evolution.
    Of course printed paper will remain as photo did not dissappeared after the video invasion. Or cinema after TV Or Tv after internet movie shared content.

    Just do not say 900 Mb are big? For what are they big? For you slow internet connections? What was your internet connection 4 Years ago? Half or less than you have today, right?

    3G will be outdated in a Year or so.

    Mike, you say you don’t think there will be people in an airplane plugged in earphones to an Ipad. What about today? A lot of people are watching movies on their personal laptops in the airplanes. Do you fell Ipad will make them change this habits?

    “Magazines are for reading”. Yes, internet is for reading too but the number of people typping in you tube address is several times bigger than those reading wikipedia.
    A picture worth a thousand words, right?

    A Motion cover will open up new perspective on interaction and perception of that ” writting” material. Is like an embedded video file in an internet page or like a dynamic banner.

    3G is maybe still slow for this new perspective this Apple toy brings up to the market ( I still wonder why they sold 1 million units in the first month since this toy does nothing more than an ordinary laptop except it has a touch screen).
    But in 1-2 Years 3G will maybe get double the speed or it will come up with 4G, 5G etc.
    There are already just about to be launched microwaves data transmission technologies , a sort of long range WI-Fi with up to 1 Gb per second. Would you care if your file has 900 Mb anymore then?

    You sound so conservative that I can imagine if you were living back in 1950’s you would say television has no future at all since there is Radio- cheaper and does not requires your sight attention….

    I am coming from the printing industry and we are all impressed of how much it is going down due to the internet revolution. Ipad concept will offer us a chance to convert this industry into a Moving Cover production… Still there will be printed magazines…