Khoi Vinh examines the state of magazine apps on the iPad and finds them wanting.
My opinion about iPad-based magazines is that they run counter to how people use tablets today and, unless something changes, will remain at odds with the way people will use tablets as the medium matures. They’re bloated, user-unfriendly and map to a tired pattern of mass media brands trying vainly to establish beachheads on new platforms without really understanding the platforms at all.
The landscape is still evolving and there’s lots we don’t know about how this will play out, but one of the worrying things that stuck out for me was this:
The Adobe promise, as I understand it, is that publications can design for one medium and, with minimal effort, have their work product viably running on tablets and other media. It says: what works in print, with some slight modifications and some new software purchases, will work in new media. It’s a promise that we’ve heard again and again from many different software vendors with the rise of every new publishing platform, but it has never come to pass. And it never will.
Dear god how many times do we have to have this argument?! The web is not print. Apps are not print. If the magazine is going to survive, publishers need to evolve and embrace the networked age, not cover their eyes and pretend it doesn’t exist.