Wired Magazine made its debut on the iPad recently and seems to have done well for itself. With 24,000 units sold and downloaded in the first 24 hours, things are looking good for Wired. But, are they really?
There is another number about the magazine that is quite troubling: 527. The first issue of Wired for the iPad has a wopping 527 MBs of size. So what? Well, that is a lot of megabytes for a single magazine issue, specially when you consider it relative to the storage space of a base model iPad: 16 GB.
If all magazines were to have similar size a base model iPad would only be able to store 32 magazine issues in all, and that would only be if the owner decided that he didn’t need any applications, videos, music, etc.
Somehow I don’t think that people that want to read Wired digitally, on a recurring basis, i.e. become subscribers are likely to find this issue size okay.
The size of the first issue is not necessarily of concern to readers, however. A recent post on AppleInsider describes what a curious developer was able to find out about the Wired App, when digging around in a Jailbroken device and it is really surprising. The entire content for the magazine is included in the form of large images. Essentially there are two very large images for each page of the magazine. One image for viewing in landscape and another for viewing in portrait.
What this means is that the Wired App has almost no functionality built-in, limiting itself to displaying the right images depending on which page you are reading and in which orientation mode and playing videos or sounds when certain points are touched by the user. One reviewer on the iTunes store that gave it a bad review described it as being a PDF with videos, but from a technological point of view it is way worse than that as PDF files are actually script files an thus smaller and more flexible than mere images.
It is interesting to note that this does not detract from the quality of the content offered by the magazine, which appears to be identical to that contained in the printed paper version. With over 800 reviews the Wired App currently enjoys a full five stars rating.
Hopefully the current low-tech, high-download-size situation of the Wired App will be resolved in the near future as Adobe further develops is digital magazine publishing product, which right now seems to be something that was put together in great haste in order to allow customers such as Wired to go proceed with their digital publishing strategy, after Apple cut the legs out from under Adobe’s original plan of having a Flash cross-compiler to transform Flash based applications into native iPhone OS applications.
Right now Adobe’s solution to the situation helped Wired get to market with the first iPad issue which has seen good sales, but if Adobe doesn’t work on this solution it will end up being a real problem for their customers, as people start to realized that the publications are eating up all the space in their iPads.