Thursday, December 8, 2011

Quark launches its own digital magazine for the iPad; Bonnier moves Saveur into Newsstand but fails to upgrade its vision for the magazine on a tablet

Desktop publishing software company Quark has released its own digital magazine into the App Store. Jabber will serve as a vehicle to demonstrate the possibilities of its own digital publishing solutions centered around QuarkXPress 9 and App Studio.
As you would expect, the magazine comes with both portrait and landscape layouts and is packed with interactive content and animation to produce a showcase for potential users of their tablet publishing packages.

“Tablets like the iPad have opened up a totally new opportunity for the design community to rethink magazine design,” said Gavin Drake, vice president of marketing for Quark. “With Jabber we aim to give creative professionals fun, interesting, and informative content in an app that is our take on the future of the digital magazine. With Jabber we’ll trial new approaches to digital design to push the envelope of what’s possible for designers without having to code.”
Quark's App Studio is currently is capable of creating customized apps for the iPad, though the company's website says that it an Android solution is "coming soon".

Art directors and others can download a 30-day trial copy of QuarkXPress 9 on the company's website.

Back in June, Bonnier released its first iPad app from its food magazine Saveur. I've been a reader of the magazine for quite a number of years, and when working for an online video company once had the occasion to pitch the previous publisher video creation services.

When the iPad app was released I was, frankly, stunned. The potential tablets present to food magazine publishers is almost limitless, after all. My expectations, apparently, were way too high because the magazine turned out to be little more than a replica edition lightly enhanced with some digital features.

Today an update came out that moves the app into Newsstand and adds live web content into the magazine issues, according to the app description. But I was fooled for a second thinking that it was a new app and was ever so close to buying a subscription. But instead I downloaded the preview of the latest issue, and as you can see below, it is still very much a replica edition. That means two-pages spreads are cut off, text is unreadable without zooming in, and all the potential of the tablet publishing is ignored.

The December issue, which I bought in print, is still a great read, and the magazine appears to be fairly healthy. But Saveur was always a bit of a step child inside the old publishing company, World Publications, and now it seems to still be that within Bonnier. While many of the magazines, such as Popular Science, are leading the charge toward tablet publishing using the Mag+ platform, Saveur is using a replica solution (MagLight).

The food category, I'm afraid, is still looking for its killer tablet app.
Left: The cover of the preview version of the December issue of Saveur; Middle: A two-page spread, or rather, half of a two-page spread since this replica edition makes few adjustments for being on a tablet; Right: A full page of text, have fun reading it.