Posted by Ryan Austin
While eating breakfast a few weeks ago, I opened up my laptop and googled the
latest news on Apple’s new iPad. One of the higher links on my search was an interesting article from the New York Times on the magazine industry’s interactions with Apple. In summary, the article explored the lack of a subscription service available to the majority of magazine publishers and the relatively high cost for each issue of an iPad-specific magazine. In short, although the future of iPad journalism may be bright, it is far from being perfect, or even acceptable, in its current form.
The article brought a question to my mind. Is the iPad really the future of print journalism? I just don’t see it. Here are my problems with magazines on the iPad: initial cost, iPad issue cost, and lack of innovative content. The cost of buying an iPad is just too high. Currently, a 16 gigabyte, Wi-Fi-only iPad costs $499. As a once-avid reader of magazines, I know that $499 can buy a ton of year-round subscriptions. Why would I want to pay $499 when I could purchase a couple of annual paper subscriptions of my favorite magazines for much cheaper? What is the advantage?
Another issue I see with iPad magazines is the lack of innovation. I’d love to see an example of an iPad magazine with a video/moving cover, interactive text and photos, and links to related pages on the internet. Richard Branson’s Project magazine gives me hope (embedded below), but these sorts of innovations need to be standard practice, not the exception. I have no interest in an iPad magazine that offers the same experience the print edition does, and I’ll bet many feel the same way.
What are some things you would like to see in an iPad magazine? What features would you be drawn to? Do you think iPad magazines will catch on?