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3 visions on the future of magazines (Post iPad)

3 visions on the future of magazines (Post iPad)
It seems that how magazines will be viewed on the iPad is a big topic of conversation these days.  Everyone with the resources to do it is bringing out their version of it in the form of a demo video of a prototype or an animated simulation.  Since the iPad was announced several of these videos have been mentioned on iPad Watcher and just yesterday I posted about the videos that have been released by Viv magazine. Each of the companies to bring out these demos have a different view on how a magazine should be viewed in a device such as the iPad, we can pretty much group them into three categories: 1. A paper-like magazine – This is the vision that is least talked about, as it isn’t really all that glamorous, but it is going to be a big reality very soon. About two months ago Zinio, a digital magazine distributor, released an iPhone version of its reader which was already available for Windows and the Mac. Coming about two weeks before the announcement of the iPad itself I’m hard pressed to believe that they were really targeting iPhones and iPods. Zinio has a catalog of hundreds of magazines available today. Zinio has just announced the iPad version of their software which is supposed to be more interactive, perhaps edging towards vision number 2. 2. An interactive and navigable magazine – This what I would call the Bonnier & BERG vision as Bonnier R&D published a concept video they created in partnership with BERG designers about the experience of reading magazines in a handheld device. In this case you can read the magazine sequentially or in whatever order you choose and you can call up additional pictures from galleries, or interact with the advertisement. This was published about three months ago, and it seems to be the trend that Wired is following with Adobe’s help. Also in this camp seems to be Sports Illustrated as reported by Wired. 3. A video stravaganza – This is a video heavy concept where the video becomes central to the magazine’s experience, functioning as cover and perhaps the theme for the main feature article. This is certainly the most visually appealing, but it also requires magazines to start working with actors, filming crews all the complexity involved in filming commercials. This is the vision shown by Viv magazine. Personally I’m more inclined to see the Bonnier and BERG vision as the one magazines will tend to settle in the not too distant future. It doesn’t really require totally new teams to create the content while providing a much richer experience to readers. I would highly recommend watching their video to anyone from the publishing industry. The Zinio, paper-like, experience will be a short term path that should be within reach of even the small independent publishers and we should see of them moving in that direction. Right now, I can’t see how magazine publishers, already struggling with decreases in advertisement could sustain the video stravaganza approach. There is a lot of cost involved in creating such great quality video as displayed in Viv’s demo, but watching their making of video should make it clear to anyone that it was no trivial task.  Still, it might be possible that totally new business models will evolve out of these changes. How do you think that magazines will evolve in this new digital publishing era? UPDATE: If you are interested in this subject you should probably read an article called iPad Digital Publications Reality check, which complements this...
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A Chat with Dan Grover, author of Etude

A Chat with Dan Grover, author of Etude
Tonight I had an opportunity to have a chat with Dan Grover, Principal at Wonder Warp Software and author of Etude. For those of you that haven’t seen the application yet, Etude is an elegant and fun way to actually see how music is read and played. It’s an iPhone application that was recently released and that has been well received by those that have looked at it. Dan is now working on creating an iPad version of the application and we discussed that version and his perspectives on adapting the interface of a beautiful iPhone application such as Etude to the iPad.  You can see some screenshots of the iPhone version below. To start out our discussion on how much effort it will take to port Etude to the iPad, Dan emphasized the fact that regardless of what the pundits my say, the iPad isn’t just a large iPhone or iPod touch.  The much larger screen requires that an application’s interface be totally reconsidered and redesigned so as to properly adapt to all the available space.  On that we both agreed that while it was important to not take advantage of the screen size to fit every possible option on screen at the same time, it would probably be okay to have more options available that what is common on the iPhone or iPod. The iPad version of Etude should display multiple lines of music on screen, which will probably (my opinion here) make it look more like the music sheet books that are represented in the application’s library.  Its interesting to note that Etude employs a book opening animation to bring the music on screen that is similar to what we saw in Steve Jobs’ demo of the iBookStore.  Despite the fact that I am running the application on a 2nd generation iPod Touch the animation is quite smooth.  I look forward to seeing what it will look like on an iPad. Dan shared his views on the iPad as platform which aren’t much different from Ken Case, CEO of the Omni Group, shared with me in a recent interview and which are not that different from my own.  He sees the iPad, or the format it showcases, as the next step in the evolution of personal computing.  He sees the iPad as a device which will allow common people (meaning non-techs) to have a much easier time using their computers (iPads). I’ll be tracking  this application’s  move to the iPad and seeing how it evolves.  Etude for the iPhone is available in the AppStore at an introductory price of $2.99. *Images: Etude, captured on an iPod...
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Apple adding new features to iWork.com to support the iPad

Apple adding new features to iWork.com to support the iPad
An article published today on MacRumors informs that Apple has sent an email to users of its iWork.com beta service stating that new features for mobile users have been added to the service.  While the email states that iPhones, iPods and iPads are supported I don’t really imagine that iPhone and iPod users are the main target of this update, with the iPad coming to store shelves next month. *Cover image:...
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5 Applications I’m taking from my iPod to my iPad

5 Applications I’m taking from my iPod to my iPad
I’ve got lots of applications in my iPod Touch, just as most everyone else that owns one or an iPhone.   As I contemplate which ones I see as having the potential for a hugely improved experience in the iPad’s much larger display, I started to list the applications that I had to carry over. Five applications stood out head and shoulders above the rest of the pack: 1. Stanza – A great eBook reader for multiple formats and totally free.  Produced by Lexcyle an Amazon company.  I normally carry around some 30 to 40 ebooks on my iPod. Stanza makes it simple to transfer books to the device through wi-fi, without having to go through iTunes. 2. Brushes – A finger painting application which is great fun on the iPod (or iPhone) and which is going to drive my kid wild on a 9.7 inch screen.  This application alone will probably costing me the price of his iPad. 3. Twitterific – A Twitter client.  I imagine that you could just replace it here with your favorite Twitter client for the iPhone, but I’ve come to really like Twitteriffic and I much prefer to read my daily dose of  tweets on the iPod than on the notebook/desktop. 4. Evernotes – A note taking application which allows you to synchronize your notes on all  devices you have it installed on.  Right now I’ve got it on two PCs, a MacBook and my iPod Touch.  Being able to access my notes, regardless of which device I’m using is priceless. 5. NetNewsWire – An RSS feed reader.  As with Twitteriffic I guess you could replace it with the iPhone RSS feed reader of your choice but I’m used to NetNewsWire, that is the one for me. There are other applications I’m sure will quickly make their way to my iPad, but these are the ones that I use frequently and where I can see big productivity gains from having a large screen. Check out this picture done for the cover of The New Yorker by Jorge Colombo. (Larger version on the artist’s website.) What applications will you be carrying over from an iPhone or iPod to your iPad? *Image by Jorge Colombo, via Brushes...
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A Microsoft Courier-like Application for the iPad

Microsoft is supposedly working on a double screen tablet device which will be released later this year. All rumors indicate a late 2010 release date for this device which is not really clear to me yet if is supposed to be a Microsoft branded device such as the Zune or a reference model for OEMs like in the case of it’s UMPC project. Recently a video demoing the concept of the device appeared and prompted many a doom-sayer’s prediction of a still-borne future for the iPad as this device shows some really interesting interface tricks using its dual screens. Well, while some ideas are really good, they could conceivably be implemented on an iPad at application level and it seems that some people are already hard at work in doing just that. While I would not go as far as to say that the PadNotes application is inspired by what has been seen of Microsoft’s Courier, it certainly shows that you can do pretty much all that that device can do with an iPad and that you will be able to do so way before the end of the year. The video below shows a trial run of the software. As you can see from the interface design, this application could still improve quite a bit, but lets be fair… these guys (or guy) has had little more than a month to work on it and it is already pretty impressive. I hope to see the final version of this application available in the AppStore and I’m really looking forward to see how it will evolve.  My attention was called to this application by an article on FastCompany. *Video: YouTube (via...
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Google introduces an RSS reader for tablets

Google has introduced a version of its Google Reader RSS feed reader that is specially designed for tablet computers.  While I imagine that Google isn’t really targeting the iPad specifically, it can’t really be off their minds. The new service is called Google Reader Play and I’ve played around with it a bit today.  It was only a quick once over, but it truly seems like a more interesting interface for people using their fingers on the screen.   The one thing that bothered me a bit was that the suggestions it was presenting me, which were supposed to be based on things I liked in the past, didn’t seem to really match what I would expect. If you’ve got a Google account I suggest you take Google Reader Play for a spin and see how it...
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Taking notes on the iPad

Over the past couple of days I have given considerable thought to how an iPad can be of use, other than in the most obvious roles.  Apple hasn’t shown us much of the Notes application other than that it looks like a notepad.  Still, I feel on of the most productive uses of an iPad in a creative role will be as a note taking device. As a device you are likely to be carrying everywhere – which I know I will be doing – as it is lighter than netbooks and much handier with its instant on behavior, you will always be able to start jotting things down, where ever you are.  Think about it… While my faithful Asus 10 inch EEE PC isn’t all that heavy to lug around, it is far from convenient for taking notes while standing. Just try holding a netbook on one hand and typing with the other and you will quickly see how it really can’t be thought of as solution in this scenario. I expect that Apple’s Notes application will be but the first of many dedicated note taking applications to be available for the iPad.  Given the devices clear fit for the task, I expect that a lot of companies will be developing specialized applications which will start showing up on the AppStorm soon.  I would imagine that most of these applications will also be available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, which though not as easy to  type one, make for great note checking platforms, specially if the notes can be synchronized between different devices. One company that I already know about is Evernote that has stated that it plans to support the iPad with a new version of its flagship product. If you know of any other note taking application, please let me know. *Image: Apple...
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Take notes with your iPad (when you have one)

I just ran across the news that my all around favorite note taking application is coming to the iPad, in a specialized version. I use Evernote on my MacBook, my Windows netbook, my Windows notebook and my iPod.  Through a simple online synchronization service offered along with their online application, I get my notes to move with me, to whatever device I happen to be using right now. I’m looking forward to see if they come up with a good interface for the iPad.  I don’t particularly like their current interface either on desktop computers and on the iPod, though the functionality of the application is great.  Let’s see if they are inspired by the...
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iPad attracting a lot of developer interest

Numbers released this Friday by Flurry, an analytics firm that provides tracking services for developers of mobile applications, seem to indicate that the iPad may be attracting a lot of attention from those developers.  In January, the number of new projects being tracked was over 1600, compared to about 600 in December. Developers seem to be moving quickly to ensure their applications are released as soon after the iPad as possible.  Early movers may have a decisive advantage in grabbing mindshare with the press and future end...
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What iPad specific applications are we likely to see?

In chatting with a few people over the past couple of days, I’ve been able to notice something really interesting… Many people that considered developing for the iPhone a curious novelty are seriously considering developing for the iPad. Considering how the iPhone seems to have had a much more enthusiastic reception than the iPad this got me into thinking a lot.  It makes sense, however.  The iPad is much more obviously a computing device than the iPhone was, regardless of the fact that they are running the same OS. Actually it might be even because they are running the same OS, as the iPhone has clearly demonstrated that it can run some impressive pieces of software. The iPhone is, however, hindered in many applications by its screen size, just as it is favored in others by that.  We’re probably going to see the same thing happening with the iPad, in reverse.  Applications that you wouldn’t want to run on the iPhone because the screen would be too small and that will work great for the iPad’s much larger screen will naturally attract new developers.    This might even lead to a new wave of iPhone applications as having created applications for the iPad many vendors might be tempted to create lighter weight versions of those applications for the iPhone as a complement to the ones on the iPad. What kinds of applications can we expect to see coming to the iPad?  While it might not be immediately obvious, as the iPad seems to be clearly positioned as a personal device, business oriented applications seem to be pretty high on the list of the people I’ve talked to.  There are just too many business tasks that could benefit from having immediate data/application access from where ever you are.   Hospital/medical applications, business workflow, checklists, order taking, etc. Weighting less than a Kilo and with 10 hours of battery life the iPad seems to be a great device for sales people that are on the go all day.  This is an area that can be covered by Web based applications such as Salesforce.com and ZoHo, for which I wouldn’t be surprised if saw a couple of native offerings. Are you developing for the iPad?  Are you extending an iPhone application or starting with the iPad?  Drop me a note, or leave a comment if you prefer,  so that I can track your product. by Mauricio...
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