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A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

Posts tagged iPad

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The Telegraph on Apple News

The Telegraph is seeing substantial reader growth – from Apple News:

For The Telegraph, Apple News has become the most effective third-party platform at driving readers to its own sites and app — where it can eventually turn them into subscribers.

(Note the contrast here to Facebook, which is doing everything it can to keep you in the Instant Articles walled garden.)

Two anecdotes that seem to bear this out:

  1. I’m getting about an extra day’s worth of traffic a week from Apple News (you can sub to One Man & His Blog there, should you wish.)
  2. My wife – a Facebook refusenik – now uses Apple News as her major news-reading interface.

Something’s happening here.

The Need for Notifications

Another interesting point in the piece:

“The main growth has been driven by the iOS10 update and a combination of our new strategy,” said Bridge. Several publishers recorded traffic increases since the iOS10 update last year, partly because of the introduction of notifications. “In the modern age, people look to consume content through notifications. That doesn’t mean they will always open them and click through.”

For breaking news – you need to have a notification strategy, but one that doesn’t get your notifications switched off.

MG Siegler on almost being able to switch full-time to his iPad – but not quite:

This is especially frustrating to me because I see glimpses of the computing future I could have. Tonight, for example, I brought only my iPad to a cafe to write this. I didn’t have to bring a big bag to lug my laptop. I just grabbed the iPad and walked out the door. The writing experience with the external keyboard cover for the iPad Pro is fantastic. No distractions.

But when I publish this post, I’ll still do so when I get home. From my laptop.

His argument is that the iPad is 90% of the way to being a laptop replacement – but that last 10% matters. I suspect there are a lot of people, myself included, in his position. We’d like to go iPad first (and maybe only) – but it’s not there yet.

Today’s security update for Apple’s iOS devices is a serious one:

One of the world’s most evasive digital arms dealers is believed to have been taking advantage of three security vulnerabilities in popular Apple products in its efforts to spy on dissidents and journalists.

(Emphasis mine.)

Basically, if you’re a journalist working for a national or international news organisation, update your iPhone or iPad as soon as you possibly can.

Using an iPad to prepare photos for the web

This article has me rethinking one of my core reasons for not using my iPad for more blogging:

I’ve pretty much stopped importing and editing images on my Mac. Though I didn’t expect it, the iPad provides me with an easier and quicker workflow for posting hero images on iMore than my Mac ever did.

Basically, while we were all looking elsewhere, the iPad got really good at moving files between applications. And, for some tasks, it’s now better than the Mac.

My predictions for the relationship between magazine publishers and iPads five years ago:

  • Companies will seize on the magazine-like form factor and the “book replication” iBooks interface to build what are, in effect, straight replications of print titles on the platform
  • They will add the sort of “interactive” extra elements that made CD-ROMs such a compelling experience back in the 90s (please note: that was sarcasm).
  • Readers will try them out, find the experience unfulfilling, and return to just using the web via the browser on the device.
  • As HTML5 takes off, the web experience will accelerate away from the print one, leaving all but the most innovative, up-market print titles on the steady spiral into oblivion.

I was almost completely correct. And it feels really shitty.

The Magazine

Interesting insight into The Magazine and its (previously unknown, I believe) near-death experience:

Having a “built-in audience” from a 5by5 show, Tumblr, Instapaper, and Marco.org didn’t sustain The Magazine. I sold it because it was cratering under my ownership and losing subscribers alarmingly quickly. I was about to shut it down, but Glenn wanted to try running it, so I sold it to him for much less than you’d probably assume.

It’s often cited by people – myself included – as an interesting experiment with a subcompact magazine format on the iPad. The fact that, after a successful start, it nearly failed is eye-opening. The reason? Marco makes it pretty plain:

The Magazine under my leadership was subjectless, unfocused, and irrelevant to most of my audience.

Under Glenn Fleishman, it seems to have prospered. No matter how good the tech, you still need a skilled editor…

[Update]: A response from The Magazine suggests that the situation was more nuanced that perhaps Marco’s post suggested (to me, at least):

Re-reading Marco’s post with that correction in mind suggests that he was considering closing it because subscriptions were falling (which he considered a failure), not because it was about to become unprofitable. That’s a distinct difference.

The Loop on iPad

While we’re on the topic of iPad magazine apps:

We in the publishing game have a name for this phenomenon – we call it “shovelware”. We used to use the term to describe the way we just took our print copy and shoveled it onto the web – a phase that, thankfully, most publishing businesses have moved beyond. However, the arrival of the iPad has given us the opportunity to get that ol’ shovel back out of the box, and shovel our magazines straight into a new form.

Oh, make no mistake, this has been made very easy for us. Adobe – amongst others – has given us tools to take our magazines and shove them onto the iPad with just a few clicks. And publishers have been doing this with abandon – if limited commercial success. Now wonder: this is shovelware 2.0, and it will be just as damaging to our businesses in the long term as its 1990s version was.

That’s somebody called “Adam Tinworth”, writing in InPublishing.

And then he goes on to describe a magazine app that’s really good. I think you’ll enjoy it…

iPad Newsstand

David Jacobs of 29th Street Publishing talking about magazine apps:

What we have learned is that the replica will never be successful. Consumers have soundly rejected them: digital subscriptions make up only 3% of total subscriptions. But I am of course optimistic about the future of magazine apps, since the industry has an opportunity for a reboot. There is a challenge (and an opportunity) since the mainstream conception of a magazine app is what amounts to a photo gallery of pages of a magazine, with the occasional widget or animation. But that’s not a transformation that is going to happen overnight.

Why did it all go so wrong? Joe Zeff of Joe Zeff Design, an app studio, is direct:

It’s easy to blame Adobe DPS for the spate of lookalike magazines; instead, I blame the publishers. They blindly followed AAM née ABC guidelines and created digital magazines that were hardly different from print. They prioritized customer retention over customer acquisition and focused on rate base expansion instead of new product development. They have failed to excite advertisers, blaming weak CPM numbers that could be strengthened by aggregating audiences through networks.

In short, rather than prioritising creating greta customer experiences, the magazine industry prioritised protecting its own business model and workflows – with appalling results.

The whole iPad Magazine roundtable at Newmanology is well worth a read – as it gets right to the heart of the challenges and opportunities of this format.