Friday, August 6, 2010

End of the week odds and ends: preventing brand confusion, betting against tablets, more Comcast woes

The iTunes app store has been described as the Wild West (by me!) for the apparent randomness of apps. Because of this some companies need to institute brand discipline.

Of all the brand categories that have taken advantage of the iPad for marketing, I think the auto industry has done the best job. The really good Das app was released by VW early on, and good apps from Infiniti and others have appeared recently.
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Audi, a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, has two iPad apps currently in the iTunes store: one from Audi UK, the other from a consulting group that ported over the Italian Audi magazine. The problem is that both apps are appearing in the U.S. iTunes store when it might be best if neither were there at all.

The UK app for the British magazine is at least in English, of course.

Unlike the corporately created apps for the other auto makers, these apps are simple PDF reader apps that have ported over their respective print magazines. I don't think there is anything wrong with this, but they are weak apps compared to the excellent work being done for the corporate auto brands.



Most of us know that the iPad holds tremendous potential to help create a new type of electronic magazine environment (though a few gurus are apparently hung up on their own outdated concepts of publishing). But does that mean that all periodicals ported to the tablet need to be multimedia tours de force?

No. With the iPad being used a reader much the same way the Kindle is, there are plenty of room for simple conversions. Just don't call them tablet publications, they are print publications converted for reading on the iPad.



One of the things I find funny about the anti-tablet crowd is how much they remind me of those back in the nineties who were against the web as a vehicle for publishers. They had their reasons, too (it's not permanent like print, it's not portable, not one uses it, etc.). But rather than proclaiming victory, tablet advocates should simply remember what won the battle back in the early days of the web -- time.

Time settles these battles better than trying to argue the merits. So then the question is 'do you want to bet against tablet publishing?' If the answer is 'yes" then do nothing. If you win the bet you save a few dollars, if you lose you are in big trouble. If you say 'no' and tablets become as important to publishing as many think they will then you are a winner, if they don't you lose a few dollars. You decide.


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Comcast promised the world an iPad app that would control your cable box and do all sorts of interesting social networking things. We're still waiting for that one, but in the meantime Comcast recently came out with a mobile app that allows Comcast users to check their e-mail, check voice mail, etc.

Some iTunes reviewers have said the app is buggy, but I haven't found that to be the case at all. (A lot of iPhone users forget that they need, every once in a while, to reboot their phones. It improves stability, just as it does with a computer.)

Unfortunately, people's cable TV accounts can be a bit complicated. For instance, you may have several e-mail accounts with your ISP, and also get voice service through that same company, as well. So if you want to retrieve your home or home office voice mail using the new Comcast app you must sign in using the primary account holder information -- even if that is not you. As a result you get that person's e-mail in-box -- get for checking up on your spouse, I suppose, but not exactly a well thought out solution. Everyone's e-mail is private, but the home phone voice mail is used by everyone. Who the hell designed this app?

Update: Blogger is acting up and ate my changes to the end of this post. It turns out that there are settings   in the online Comcast site that allow you to adjust the user settings for "secondary" account holders -- by toggling the voice mail setting for the secondary user you will allow them to access voice mail system wide -- including in the iPhone app. Yeah, good way to end the week.

Oh, and it turns out the problem was certainly not the app, but the Comcast system that is way too complex for its own good. Worse, customer service has no clue about such things as apps and mobile media. If your cable TV is out they may be able to help you, but mobile apps . . .?

TNM takes a trip to the Emerald City

I was a bit under the weather yesterday, one of those nasty summer colds. But before going to bed to rest I read a few articles by some of the thought leaders of our industry. I think they influenced my dreams.



I went to bed and covered up, feeling a bit of a chill. My body ached and it was clear I was not well. I slowly started to fall asleep as my dog started to lick my face, sad about my condition. Then the room started to spin around.

When I awoke I was surrounded by a bunch of munchkins. They proclaimed me a hero for crashing a house on their former publisher. (It was nice not being immediately thrown in jail.)

The munchkins proclaimed me the new head of their media company, but I had no idea what to do, being in such a foreign land. One of the munchkins said I should travel to the Emerald City to talk to the great Wizard of Oz -- surely he would have all the answers I sought.

Off I went, and to make a long story short, I picked up a couple of strange looking employees along the way. When I arrived in the Emerald City I requested that I be allowed to see the wizard. At first I was refused, but after crying and making a spectacle of myself lamenting the poor state of the media business the gatekeeper allowed us in.

Entering the room where the wizard resided my party and I walked forward with caution. Then, in a great bellowing voice the wizard asked "who are you?", and there appeared a disemboweled, bald, imposing head. I explained who I was and why we were there. We wanted the answer to the question "how do you create a great magazine company and make money?"

The wizard seemed annoyed. "Magazines? I hate magazines. I don't read them, I don't subscribe to them. And you dare to ask the great and powerful wizard what to do?" Steam rose from the head of the great wizard.

But the wizard agreed he would help me as long as we did some of the things he asked.

And so off we went -- me, my new friends, and my trusty dog -- to fulfill the wishes of the wizard.

A week later we returned to see the wizard again. "What do you want?" he asked.

"We've come back to get the answers to modern publishing."

"What?" the wizard boomed, steam rising from the head. "How dare you ask the great and powerful Oz for more favors."

We all meekly cowered as he spoke, but my trusty dog thought something was askew and ran over to a booth where there appeared to be a man behind a curtain. My dog bit into the curtain and pulled it back to reveal a slight, bearded man.

"Don't pay any attention to that man behind the curtain," the giant head boomed. But the man appeared to be speaking into a microphone and he became agitated as he realized we could see him. "Go online! make more cuts! move to New Jersey!" he frantically screamed. But it was too late he had been discovered.

"Are you the great and powerful Wizard of Oz?" I asked. "Yes, I am," he said sheepishly.

"Shame on you for making us do all those things," I said. The wizard tried to explain himself but we all got lost in the story.

"But I can help you," he finally said. "Meet me in the town square tomorrow morning and I will show you the way to promised land."

And so the next day all of the Emerald City turned out to see the wizard and I off to our journey. My new friends could not come along as one of the things the wizard had asked was for me to fire them, which I did. So it was me, my dog, and the great wizard who climbed into a giant hot air balloon. The munchkins of the city came out to see us off, unaware that they would no longer get their measly paychecks for churning out meaningless content for the wizard.

But my dog must have sensed something was wrong, for he bolted out of the balloon and I quickly followed. Just then the ropes holding the balloon grew slack and the giant vessel started to rise into the sky.

"Oh my," I cried. "Don't go!"

"I can't stop this thing," the wizard said. "I don't know how it works!"

"Where are you going?"

"I'm going to consult some newspaper companies. You magazine folk are on your own!" And the wizard floated off.

Depressed, I almost started to cry. My friends didn't seem very sympathetic.

Just then a giant bubble appeared. The bubble floated closer and seemed to contain a woman. I wondered if I was having acid flashbacks.

"Why are you so sad?" the lady inquired as she floated down to us.

"The wizard has left without giving us the answer to the question 'how to be a success in magazine publishing?' He made us do all sorts of things in order to reach the promised land, but now he has gone."

"What did he make you do?" she asked.

"The wizard said we should close down our print magazines because there was no future in print."

"And did you? Even the profitable ones?"

"Yes, that is what he asked."

"Did you create mobile and tablet media products to replace them?" she asked.

"No, the wizard said that Steve Jobs was evil and besides the iPad is a closed system."

"Just like radio and television," she said. "And what did your editor's say?"

"They weren't happy, but I was asked to get rid of them anyway, and begin aggregating content from the munchkins, paying them pennies."

The lady frowned a bit and asked "it that all?"

"No, the wizard also told me I should wear these red shoes," I said.

"Actually," the scarecrow said "that one was your idea."

"Well," the lady began "it sounds like you're screwed. You listened to some guy behind a curtain and now you are left with just a couple websites."

And off she went, back inside her bubble as the munchkins started to filter away.

"Now what should I do? I asked.

"Don't ask me," the scarecrow said. "You don't think I have a brain."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Comparing reactions to two articles on net neutrality

If you think the world is getting smaller you might be surprised to see how differently Americans and Europeans see the issue of net neutrality.

This article by the Washington Post comes right out in the first paragraph can calls efforts by the FCC an attempt institute government control of the Internet.

Thwarted in his campaign to set government control over consumer access to the Internet, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski has been trying to salvage his efforts by negotiating directly with a handful of the biggest Web firms and network service providers.
So the Washington Post's perspective is that efforts to stop AT&T and Verizon from instituting tiered broadband speeds are a government takeover. Not surprisingly, comments to the story are uniformly critical of the FCC, crying "socialism" and "tyranny" as readers position themselves on the side of the telecoms.

Across the pond, however, The Guardian and its readers see things a little differently.

"The internet giants Google and Verizon are reportedly close to a deal that could bring an end to "net neutrality", allowing the telecoms company to prioritise the order and speed in which it delivers content to users," The Guardian begins, seeing the issue as one where consumers are at the mercy of big corporations who are out there dividing out the world into haves and have-nots, you are definitely a have-not unless you are willing to pay more.

Readers are reacting differently, as well:

 "There is going to be a two tier system with a new internet that has content controlled by Globalist media. This will be much faster than it is now. The internet as we now have it will be attacked, fall into decay and die leaving only the controlled corporate owned internet."

Another writes: "There is going to be a two tier system with a new internet that has content controlled by Globalist media. This will be much faster than it is now. The internet as we now have it will be attacked, fall into decay and die leaving only the controlled corporate owned internet."

On this side of the pond the talk is all about government takeovers and the end to free enterprise; across the way people fear corporations will collude to divide the spoils and consumers will be the ones left to pay the price.

In the meantime, Google is walking back talk that they are about to sell out, but the proof will be in any announcement made over the next few days.

Is Google about to sell-out the net neutrality cause? Google also decides to end development of Wave

This story in tomorrow's (this morning for those reading this on Thursday) New York Times may have a major impact on the issue net neutrality. For publishers, many of whom have felt the issue does not concern them, this could lead to a day when the Internet becomes only a format for the well-to-do media companies.

Broadband issues effect everything from websites to RSS feeds that go in mobile and tablet publishing products -- not to mention audio and video. This is the quiet issue that ultimately could force European countries to split off from U.S. dominance of the Internet, as well as forcing a slowing in web and mobile development. But many publishers have been sitting on the sidelines, assuming in error that the issue is not of importance to them.



Google is killing Wave, the collaboration tool that seemed to have huge potential, but was frankly a pain in the rear to work with.

I was a fairly early beta tester myself but just couldn't get my arms around the product. The idea of live editing and commenting (and we do mean live) made sense. It was certainly better thought out than Buzz.

Nonetheless, Google writes on its own blog that despite t"numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects."

Finally, Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Operations & Google Fellow writes "Wave has taught us a lot, and we are proud of the team for the ways in which they have pushed the boundaries of computer science. We are excited about what they will develop next as we continue to create innovations with the potential to advance technology and the wider web."

Let's hope Google decides to live up to its own mission of "do no evil" -- see story #1 above.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Brands get tablet publishing a bit more than you think

Yesterday I included an item from Brandweek that lamented the lack of brands that have iPad apps. The premise was that brands were falling behind others, like newspapers and magazines, when it came to using the iPad as a platform.
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I held my tongue a little because I didn't want to slam the article, I simply wanted to pass it along. But when I wrote my own post about it something didn't feel right. Are brands really behind media companies when it comes to using the iPad to promote themselves? It didn't feel right.

Today comes another example of a brand using the iPad to push product: this new app from Chrysler promoting the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. This is the first app inside iTunes from Chrysler, but the company follows VW, Infiniti and BMW who have apps in iTunes. (Toyota and Nisan have iPhone apps.) Oh, Daimler AG has apps, as well. And . . . you get the idea.

I think brands get it -- probably way more than media companies do. Just search for iPad apps from B2B media companies, it is definitely in the "needle in a haystack" area. One of the reasons you will see more and more brands release apps is simply that agencies understand that they have to show that they understand where consumers are heading -- whether that includes social media, mobile or tablets, or just about anywhere else the clients customers are going.

Everyone has an opinion on how to save Newsweek; Politico gets into the act with a lengthy advice column

Clearly Newsweek had become an inside-the-beltway publication judged by the fact that the political website Politico would consider the sale of the magazine important enough to post a story that runs on to four web pages.

While Politico didn't offer any advice themselves, they wanted to make sure that the usual people were heard from, saying the usual things.
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For Samir Husni, director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism, it is all about returning to the past: "Go back to the newsweekly. Go back to the news that people can use. What’s missing in a lot of our publications now is, it’s not the five W’s and the H." Go back.

Jeff Jarvis, professor at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism, as you would have expected, needed to make fun of the situation: “Audio guy bought Newsweek? Maybe he'll convert it to 8-Track. Cassette? Quadrophonic? Walkman? Album?” (He really said that? What was he trying to sound like, Lou Costello?)

Jarvis then proceeded to preach the digital sermon. “What I’d probably do is set a date very soon in the future when there is no print Newsweek, and figure out what it can be as a digital bring, and utterly remake it,” Jarvis said.



The magazines business is, like any industry, way too complicated to be summed up in any one catch phrase. "Go back!" may sound good to someone nostalgic for the golden age of magazines, but no matter what any publisher does they will not succeed if they are getting beaten up by the sales teams at Time and The Economist. And "go digital" works great . . . if you have the secret to creating a profitable digital property. If not, all you are doing is trading one failed model for another. Someone has to sell those medium rectangles, and for a price that will support a newsroom.

That is not to say that any of this advice is bad, and certainly a one or two line quote in a post probably doesn't give the full picture of what the person being interviewed actually thinks. But these advice stories rarely talk about the unsexy part of the business like sales and marketing. More magazines fail because of a lack of sales power and leadership than people want to admit. But if given a choice between hiring a consultant for six months and doubling their sales and marketing budgets, how many publishers would choose the latter? (OK, probably too many.)

Piling on with the advice, Romenesko links to two more Newsweek-should stories offering advice: One says Newsweek should be converted to a non-profit (from an unprofitable, I suppose), and another gives advice concerning the editor's position.

There is also this story in the L.A. Times: Newsweek sale a head-scratcher: California tycoon Sidney Harman, 91, who made his fortune in stereo equipment, has no experience in the media industry.

So TNM will get in on the act: What should Newsweek do to become a success? Sell out to a very rich person who doesn't mind losing money publishing a magazine.

See how easy that was.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

France 24 releases documentary as iPad app; news broadcaster uses the app store as a distribution channel

The ease of developing and distributing apps for smartphones and tablets is making possible innovative ways to distribute content. No better example of this can be found than the new iPad app from France 24, the international news broadcaster.
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France 24 had previously released its own universal app for its news channel which allows iPhone and iPad users to view live broadcasts on their devices. To date France 24 has not launched Android or Blackberry apps, forcing owners of those devices to use the company's mobile website.

France 24's new app is for the iPad only and is called Report: "Rape in Congo" in its English version, and Reportage: "Congo, la paix violée" in its separate French version. Interestingly, the two apps are not the exact size -- the English version weighs in at 185 MB, just slightly larger than the French version.

The actual documentary housed inside this app is called "Rape in Congo: Peace Violated" and was produced in the North Kivu region of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Produced by journalists Zoé Lamazou and Sarah Leduc, the documentary investigates the use of rape as a weapon of war.

The two reporters travelled to the region to speak to, photograph and video the people of the region.

When the two reporters returned to Paris, France 24’s editorial and technical teams decided to set a themselves a challenge: to produce the world’s first documentary exclusively for the iPad platform.

Apple’s new device has allowed them to explore new methods of putting the story at the center of a report. A month later, after some cold sweats and intense reflection, the report is finally ready.
-- France 24.
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Layouts are in both landscape and portrait modes, with embedded audio and video. 


There are alternative ways to distribute a video documentary, of course. One could have it within the television program area of iTunes, or could make it a video podcast. But creating an app opens up a few interesting options such as combining text, photography and video into one media product.
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The app offers both portrait and landscape modes, though in some cases I wonder if this is a good thing as the photographer obviously originally intended for the picture to be framed a certain way.

 In any case, the navigation works well, though I had some trouble with one of the audio files. In addition to swiping of pages, there is bottom navigation tool made up of thumbnails that comes up when on taps the page. It, too, has some glitches. For instance, when one gets to the end of the pages the navigation simply disappears. It is also extremely touchy.
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The French version of the app
is available as a separate download.
 


Nonetheless, this is a great experiment and I hope the app is downloaded often so that there is sufficient feedback from users to judge the app's ultimate success. The app is a free download, though one could easily visualize a media company deciding to charge for an app such as this.

Morning Brief: Condé Nast releases fifth iPad app, this one for Glamour; brands are slow to release apps

Condé Nast Digital released their fifth iPad app, this one for Glamour. The major media firm now has iPad apps for Epicurious (released on launch day), GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired, and the new one for Glamour.
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Like similar apps for their other magazines, the Glamour app is free to download, but requires the user to buy single issues through the app for $3.99. Right on schedule, the first review of the app in iTunes complained about pricing the iPad issues at the same price as the newsstand, and significantly higher than an annual subscription would cost.

The app features a bit of e-commerce, containing 17 items for sale related to items found in the magazine. The shopping section allows users to click directly through to the retailer's or manufacturer’s website.

“If you’re a fashion and beauty magazine and you’re selling a September issue, I think the reader expects, ‘Of course I expect to be able to look and shop that picture,’” editor in chief Cindi Leive is quoted by Mediaweek as stating during an app demonstration.



Brandweek laments the lack of brands to be found on the iPad, stating that while magazines are beginning to launch apps, the number of brands with their own apps are few. (This kind of sounds like my lament that B2B media owners are avoiding the iPad, doesn't it?)

In a post on its website, Barry Silverstein mentions several apps I've written about here such as Kraft's Big Fork Little Fork app, wisely mentioning that it is really a product of Meredith Integrated Marketing.

Other apps mentioned are from E-Trade, Gap, JC Penney, Nike ID, Weber's and Pottery Barn (probably the worst of the brand apps, and the one doing the most damage to the brand).



Prior to its release, rumors about whether Apple's iPad would have a camera abounded, but few were very disappointed that the end product lacked one as the device is certainly too large and awkward to use as a shooting device. But with the release of the new iPhone, which contains a front facing camera and a new video chat program, FaceTime, the idea of a camera for the iPad appears to make sense.

Yesterday AppleInsider reported that deep inside some profile policies available to corporate uses there appears to be the capability to disable use of a camera, at least suggesting that future models of the tablet will have a built-in front facing camera.

If Apple follows the iPhone pattern, a new version of the iPad would not be launched until next Spring. Currently there are few rumors of a Christmas season revision of the popular tablet.

Wired's Gadget Lab discovered an interesting little fact about the new Kindle -- it contains a microphone.

While the microphone is currently not enabled, it might be used in the future for voice navigation. A software update would probably be all that would be needed to activate the device.

Monday, August 2, 2010

About.com to enter the B2B space, sort of

This quote from Maya Avrasin, B2B editor at About.com says it all: "We evaluated the landscape and found that it was really underserved online."

I could argue with her about About.com's chances of succeeding in B2B based on the thinness of the site's editorial content -- but then again how much thinner could it be compared to many B2B websites? (Well, believe it or, a lot thinner -- check out this architecture subdomain.) But it is hard to argue with the premise: B2B publishers are definitely underserving their readers online (and not at all via mobile or tablet).
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The whole idea may generate a few chuckles among B2B media veterans, but it appears that About.com and their editor are confusing B2B with franchising.

Everything on the B2B sites appears to be for those who are considering starting a new business, not for actual industry people. For instance, the two lead stories on the restaurant site are "How to Open a Restaurant on a Budget" and "All About Customer Service". I'm sure Thomas Keller is attentively reading.

No offense to the people at About.com, but if the Times, who own the brand, want to get serious about B2B they could hire an editor or two who has actual B2B publishing experience -- there are, after all,  lots and lots of them available -- then this might get interesting.

The New York Times to offer other publishers its own iPhone and iPad publishing solutions: Press Engine; WoodWing's iPad Reader App to be integrated by CCI

Sensing that there is money to be made by being a vendor to the publishing industry, the New York Times today announced that it will launch its own technology and design publishing solutions. The new product, dubbed Press Engine, will deliver media content across new platforms starting with iPhone and iPad applications. The service will start in Q4 of this year.

The Times can already claim some clients stating that Telegraph Media Group and A.H. Belo Corporation-owned The Dallas Morning News, The Providence Journal and The Press-Enterprise will be the first to license the service, while other New York Times properties will be using Press Engine, as well.
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Introducing new digital platforms is one of the ways that The Dallas Morning News is shaping its portfolio to provide compelling, relevant content through the vehicles readers want," said John McKeon, president and general manager of The Dallas Morning News in the Times' own press release. "Press Engine puts The Times's technological savvy to work for us, delivering premier news reader applications that allow advertisers to reach our engaged audiences where they live, work and play."

The New York Times iPhone app including their recently released The Scoop have proved popular with iPhone owners, though their iPad app called Editor's Choice has been poorly received due to its lack of content and depth.

The Times has recently said that it plans to launch its own paid app for the iPad, while retaining the free to download, ad supported NYT Editor's Choice app.

According to the Times, Press Engine users will retain control of their advertising and subscription revenues (which will, nonetheless, be subject to the split with Apple) but will pay a one-time license fee and monthly maintenance fees.



While the Times becomes part of the publishing solutions industry, WoodWing, the Netherlands based mobile and tablet publishing solutions company, announced that CCI, a part of the Stibo Group, will begin integrating WoodWing's iPad Reader App into its editorial solutions.

In a press release Ulrik Cramer, Solution Strategist of CCI said "by integrating WoodWing's iPad Reader App into our editorial solutions, CCI is able to offer a flexible and proven solution for publishing interactive content to the iPad."

Content that is destined to be read on the iPad can be created and laid out in InDesign or CCI LayoutChamp, then packaged by WoodWing's iPad Reader App for eventual delivery for the iPad.

"CCI has a very strong customer base in the newspaper industry, and through this cooperation, newspapers can more easily add the iPad to their publishing mix," said Hans Janssen, CEO of WoodWing Software. "This will help to speed up the adoption of tablet devices."

Wired releases iPad app update for August issue, subscription option still missing; iPad apps offer more engagement than mobile apps according to Mobclix

The folks who rate apps inside the iTunes app store are a tough crowd. As an example, the first Wired magazine app was criticized for its huge download size and its fairly simply animation and video solutions.
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Now the Condé Nast magazine has issued an app update that changes the way issue are delivered to iPad owners. The app is only a shell, less than a megabyte in size, as compared to the 576 megs that first app weighed in at. (Did they do this in July, as well?)

The old app cost you $4.99 to download. The new app is free, but now the user is required to buy the issues from within the app. Issues now cost $3.99 but that hasn't stopped some from complaining about even this price.
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Other reviewers have also complained about having to download a new app, thinking that they will have to do this for every issue. But the new app may allow for archiving issues -- we'll know when September rolls around. Wired still is not using a subscription mechanism inside its app as publishers continue to work out the consumer data issues with Apple.

The iPad version of the magazine continues to offer interactive advertising such as Showtime's ad for Weeds which includes a preview of the first episode. It would be hard for a print rep to argue that a full page print ad in a magazine that didn't offer an iPad edition would offer more value than what Wired is currently offering. But not all the ads are interactive, and they do not have to be. The full page ad from the Gap, for instance, simply offers the reader the same ad in portrait as landscape, just with a different model and a layout adjustment for the format. It works just fine.

I think the team at Condé Nast is doing a good job on these Wired apps. Some online critics have expectations that are ridiculously out-of-line with what publishers can deliver this early on in the life of the platform. They should cut publishers some slack and realize that if one had seen the Wired app one year ago they would have been blown away. Now, the bar has been raised so high that developers and publishers have no way to meet expectations.

But readers not critics are the key, and so far they have rewarded Condé Nast by downloading over 100,000 issues in July alone. That seems like success to me.

*By the way, the second screen capture above is the splash page that appears when loading the app. It appears for a short time and is otherwise pretty meaningless -- which I suppose is why I thought I'd capture it for you!



TechCrunch has a post this morning on the Mobclix infographic for July which presents bits of information about mobile apps. The most important points of the first infographic seem fairly obvious to me: that iPad apps are more engaging that iPhone apps, and the iPad apps have on average a 5 time higher eCPM than their iPhone equivalent. Mobclix was looking at games on the Apple tablet, but I would guess that the same kind of results would be found in other areas, as well.

PC crowd wants the tablet to be laptop computer; publishers will benefit if it remains a media device

Jeff Bertolucci from PC World wrote Friday of Microsoft's apparent plans to "retrofit" Windows 7 to run on tablets. Bertolucci says it would be a mistake.

But commenters then proceed to attack the author pointing out that Windows 7 would allow hundreds of "apps" to run that can not run on an iPad, for instance, allowing a tablet running a full operating system to be a more powerful machine.
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For some, if it doesn't run Windows it isn't a computer.
They are right: it isn't a computer. Get over it.
 →


But these critics still don't seem to understand the significance of the iPad, which probably partially explains the apparent anger some seem to have about Apple's new found success. The iPad is not a laptop -- it wasn't meant to be a laptop, and it never should become a laptop. It is a entertainment and media consumption device, and if you think less of it because of this then you really don't get where these types of devices are going.

Asking an iPad to run Photoshop or Final Cut Pro would be like asking your car to bake bread. You may think the comparison is crazy but I think it is apt. I want my car to get me from point A to point B with all other things thrown in as enhancements. I want my iPad to surf the web, play games and read books and periodicals. I don't want it to edit complex video or audio -- I have my desktop or laptop computer for that. If you add that capability to my tablet you will bloat it up, slow it down, and kill the battery life. I get 12 hours minimum on my iPad, how much do you get on your laptop. My iPad "boots" up in one second, how long does it take your laptop?


Since this is not a tech site you might think this kind of discussion far afield from media. But it is not because understanding the role of mobile and tablet devices in the future of media also requires and understanding of where technology is going and why companies like Google and Apple are moving in the direction they are going.

"I've used an iPad, I have one to test mobile sites and apps on it. I have absolutely no interest in such a limited device," wrote one critic of Bertolucci's column. Another wrote "I want the HP Slate, with a decently powerful processor/graphics card, running a FULL OS. Not a trimmed down, locked down derivative. That's nice for a diversion, not for a full time productivity deal."

This kind of thinking is probably why the Windows crowd has fallen so far behind Apple and Android. Asking a device that houses the latest issue of Wired to also be a productivity device means that the new device will spend more time being a computer and less time being a media consumption device. The more a tablet is used for business the less available it is to consume media. My iPad sits idle while I work -- and so does my television. Does that make my television a failure?