The future of the magazine, courtesy of the iPad

The future of the magazine, courtesy of the iPad

Summary: With the arrival of the iPad and other tablets, magazines have a chance to go beyond a boring print-to-digiital conversion


This post originally appeared on SmartPlanet

Thanks to the new Apple iPad and other tablet devices, the future of the magazine is exciting, indeed.

Popular Science has announced Popular Science+, the first title to emerge from the Bonnier Corp. Mag+ initiative that takes a magazine and turns it digital.

“It’s not re-creating the magazine; it’s re-creating the magazine experience,” the publisher says.

According to the company, the iPad has given it a chance to imagine the magazine as an interactive platform, across six pillars:

  • “Quiet,” simple interaction, unlike the distracting Web.
  • Fluid motion that uses “flow” to replace the “flip” of a page.
  • Carefully curated layout and design
  • Defined beginnings and ends. “It’s the end of endlessness,” Bonnier says.
  • Issue-based delivery — like a podcast, unlike a blog.
  • Advertising as content, rather than “shoot the monkey” display ads

Basically, it’s the next logical step beyond reading a PDF of your favorite glossy.

Bonnier partnered with London-based design firm BERG for the initiative.

Here’s a look in a video from Dec. 2009:

Mag+ from Bonnier on Vimeo.

Topics: Tablets, Browser, Hardware, iPad, Laptops, Mobility

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  • The magazine doesn't have a future...

    ...much as the traditional press would rather that wasn't the case.
    Sleeper Service
    • The video is pretty impressive though

      The video is pretty impressive though. It goes
      outside the box and brings the power of the
      computer to turn what used to be static page
      turning into an impressively dynamic experience.

      It includes stuff like being able to search the
      text, and clip out text and images for sharing.
  • A suitably equipped Laptop can offer all the same functionality as the iPad

    Pay-walls won't succeed except in a minority of use cases as it is overwhelmingly accepted as common-practice to read content on the internet without paying for it.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, Linux Advocate
    • It very well could happen.

      It very well could happen. I believe the major
      OSes are all capable of multitouch now, and
      even Microsoft is demonstrating that they can
      build an OS that will run on low power devices.

      . . . and it's not as if tablet PCs are
      something new. If the iPad starts taking off,
      I'm willing to bet that PC manufacturers are
      gonna be pushing to have their own equivalent
      devices on the market.

      I know you're a staunch Linux advocate - but I
      wouldn't discount Microsoft from trying to step
      into this space. They could do it in one of two
      ways: With Windows 7, or with Windows Phone 7.
      Both OSes are multitouch capable, and it'll be
      interesting to see which strategy they decide
      to go with.
      • Agreed. They certainly have the 'wherewithall' to do that.

        Dietrich T. Schmitz, Linux Advocate
      • I've head similar logic....

        The iPod was not the first and or only MP3 player and the rest of the
        industry would kick in if it the iPod took of. It did and the rest tried
        mightily and well the rest is history. Fairly recent history as well. Should
        not be that difficult to learn from it but so far it has been.

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
        • Well . . .

          Well, it's not as if Microsoft (or any other
          company) has given up and stopped making MP3
          players. Just because you're not the biggest
          doesn't mean you're not profitable.

          And it's not as if this is just an MP3 player,
          either. It's almost a full computer, in some
          respects. Microsoft has a much better track record
          with computers.
  • Interesting, although . . .

    Interesting, although seeing designs like this actually
    get implemented tends to fall to the wayside if the
    designers aren't active in developing an actual product.
    Would be a good app for the iPad or a tablet PC.
    • Hang on: An iPad 'is' a tablet PC. The converse is not true.

      Dietrich T. Schmitz, Linux Advocate
      • Kinda

        The iPad could be called a tablet - except it's
        got a phone OS rather than a full OS. And the iPad
        lovers keep wanting to convince us it's not a
        tablet PC. Because then they'd have to admit it's
        not really as powerful as a tablet PC.

        Kinda depends on who you ask. Some people think
        it's a tablet PC, others think it should have its
        own category.
  • RE: The future of the magazine, courtesy of the iPad

    If anyone thinks the future of magazines is on the iPad, the first
    example being touted by Apple, the iPad version of Popular
    Science is a complete failure. As far as I can tell they did
    everything wrong.

    The promise of a tablet-based magazine is that it can deliver
    interactive content and advertising tailored to my interests. Here,
    not only is the advertising fixed, but you are forced to view page
    after page of full page advertising to view articles, even after
    paying $5 for the privilege. At least in a magazine you can flip
    pages and read whatever parts you want, or look in the index to
    see where to find something, none of which is possible with the
    iPad version. Why is forcing the reader to view each page in order
    considered an improvement over paper which has no such

    Its simply not interactive, not even in the limited sense in a
    magazine where you can flip to a different section. Not even the
    *index* is interactive! You can't just tap on the article you want to
    read, instead you are forced to turn all of the "pages" in order,
    presumably to make sure you see all of the advertisements. The
    designers called this feature "the end of endlessness."

    Once on a "page", the text is overlaid on top of images making it
    hard to read, and both the text blocks and the "page" backgrounds
    randomly jump around and change so its impossible to tell if you're
    even reading the same article, not that there's much to read. The
    designers wax philosophical about their user interface
    breakthrough of "flow is the new flip" without stopping to think that
    a reader does NOT want the text to be moving underneath them
    when they are trying to read!

    To add insult to injury, if you touch anywhere on the "page"
    thinking its interactive all of the text goes away, and you have to
    touch in the same place to bring it back. Fail to tap in the same
    place and your text seems to be gone forever. It's maddening to
    have the text disappear if you happen to accidentally touch the

    In short, from a reader's perspective it's just a user interface
    nightmare. The designer's use of made-up jargon to justify this
    travesty is the worst sort of pseudo-design bullshit, the kind that
    makes this reader's skin crawl.