Friday, October 7, 2011

The 'Steve Jobs' TIME magazine issue hits newsstands – both physical and digital editions

The early version of this story had a huge number of typos, sorry about that. This post was written in a bit of a rush while I was securing some future interviews. I've cleaned up some of them, though I'm sure there are a few I've missed. Consider them an endearing trait of TNM if you would be so kind! I've also add the part in bold about Newsstand.

This is a sad way to end the week: talking about a "Steve Jobs 1955-2011" issue of TIME magazine. But that's life, I suppose, so here we are.
The issue is available at your local magazine newsstand, if you have one. Mine, the local Borders bookstore, recently closed down (like all the others) and is now a Halloween costume store – at least for the next few weeks, who knows what it will be after that.

The magazine is also available, of course, through the iPad app for $4.99. (TIME is still stating that they will add annual subscriptions to its iPad offerings, but they currently do not. Obviously, it would make sense that they would issue an update next week including subscriptions so that they would be included in the iOS 5 Newsstand app.)

This is a sad and ironic thing, isn't it? One of the very first magazine apps to appear for the iPad was TIME's, and its first issue was dated April 12, 2010 and featured Steve Jobs on the cover.

This week's issue features a much younger Steve Jobs, the way I remember him from the days when I was first an Apple customer.

The lead story is by Walter Isaacson, whose biography of Jobs will soon appear, and features a photograph by Diana Walker which works far better in landscape than portrait.

(In case you're not familiar with the TIME app, when in portrait one scrolls in order to move from page to page within a story, one swipes to reach the next story. When in landscape one swipes to move from page to page and then when you reach the end another swipe takes you to the next story.)

After the Isaacson story there is "The Inventor Of The Future" by Lev Grossman and Harry McCracken. Then a story called "Apple's Greatest Hits And Misses" followed by a feature dedicated solely to the photographs of Diana Walker called "In a Private Light". The final story dedicated to Steve Jobs is called "Life Inside Steve's Big Idea" by James Poniewozik.

Although TIME said that when they stopped the presses to revise this week's issue they added 21 pages of content about Steve Jobs, the tablet edition contains almost 50 separate "pages" of content, depending upon how you want to count each screen's worth of content.

While you could easily decide to buy the print version of this issue it just wouldn't seem right, in my opinion. This issue, this app, the whole tablet publishing platform, would not exist without Apple, and by extension, its leader, Steve Jobs. My recommendation is to buy the tablet version.

Newsstand will include both paid and free publications

One of the questions indy publishers have frequently asked since the iOS 5 introduction is "can free magazines get into the new Newsstand app, or is it limited to only magazines offering in-app paid subscriptions?"

So to clarify, I asked Mag+ U.S. Director Mike Haney for an answer: “You do need to have an Apple subscription, but starting with Newsstand, you can now have a free subscription.”

Essentially, to get into the Newsstand all you or your developer needs to do is configure the app inside iTunes Connect to create the subscription.

There is a little more to it than that, of course, like creating an icon, but the process seems simple enough. For developers, there is a whole section inside the developer site at Apple that can help that features videos and presentation slides (one of the slides is seen above).

The web pages were created from sessions at this summer's WWDC. You can find it here – of course you must sign-in to your developer account to access.

Content branding company Specialist UK launches iPad magazine app for French automaker Peugeot

As I've said many times, some of the best iPad magazine apps for publishers to look at come from agencies representing automakers. The reason is simple: the budgets are bigger, and the costs get passed on to the client. As a result, the apps are generally excellent, and often quite innovative.
A good example of this comes from Specialist UK, a branded content agency (or custom publisher, if you prefer). One of its client is the French automaker Peugeot, now out of the U.S. market, but very much still alive elsewhere. Specialist produces an interactive magazine for its client called e-motion (you can see the latest issue here), and had previously released an iPhone app for Hiscox Insurance called ContentsCalc, as well as a paid magazine app called Living Lighter.

Now the agency has released Rapport for iPad, an iPad-only tablet magazine that exploits the capabilities of the digital publishing platform with both portrait and landscape content, lots of interactive elements, and multimedia content.

Since the app is free I would encourage you to, watch for it, give it a test drive (sorry about that). Most of the content is contained in the app itself, you do not need to download an issue like a regular consumer magazine app. That is why the app itself is 376 MB in size.

The app includes sections for Showrooms, Videos, Offers, Brochure(s), Find a Dealer and Test Drive, as well as the magazine content. I would recommend starting the app in portrait, it just seems designed to begin that way.


Craig Dubow steps down as Gannett CEO due to health reasons; current President, Gracia Martore, takes helm

The publisher of USA Today and other newspaper and media properties, Gannett, today announced that Craig Dubow has stepped down as chairman and CEO due to health issues.

Gracia Martore, president and chief operating officer, will assume the position of CEO. Martore joined Gannett in 1985 and said in the company's announcement that she was "incredibly excited by the opportunity".

Martore, 60, joined the company as Assistant Treasurer, later becoming Vice President in the Treasury group before being promoted to Senior Vice President of Finance. Before joining Gannett Martore worked a dozen years in the banking industry.

Dubow, 57, had previously taken a medical leave after back surgery in 2009. "I've been with Gannett for 30 amazing years," said Dubow in the company's announcement. "I am extremely proud of where we are today as a company. We have always maintained an unwavering focus on the consumer. As a result, we have evolved into a digitally led media and marketing solutions company committed to delivering trusted news and information anywhere, anytime. For me, the decision to step down was difficult, but I must now focus on my health and my family."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The NHL season starts tonight and hockey fans with iOS devices have their apps, Android presumably to come

The National Hockey League kicks off its season tonight with three games on tap. For owners of iOS devices, the NHL has released NHL GameCenter 2011-2012 just in the nick of time.

Unlike the baseball app from MLB, the NHL app is universal, and free. That means that people like me who own both an iPhone and an iPad don't have to make a choice which app to download. (MLB recently lowered the price of the 2011 app to $4.99 now that it is the postseason.)
The NHL app, like the MLB app, provides some features free of charge once the user has installed the app. Hockey fans get scores, schedules, something called 3D Ice Tracker, news, stats, etc.

For an in-app purchase of $19.99 the user can access in game video highlights, live game radio, and condensed game videos. For $159.99 the user then gets live game video of both home and away broadcasts. If the user choose to purchase the $19.99 package and gets hooked, they can then upgrade to the live TV package for $139.99.

These apps are especially useful for fans that have moved away from their hometowns.

There are some definite differences, though, between the NHL and MLB live game options. Major League Baseball has locked in their Internet streaming rights so that the only way a Giants fan, for instance, can listen to the KNBR broadcast of a game is to either be in the Bay Area, or else buy one of MLB's packages – KNBR is not allowed to stream the games over the Internet.

Local radio stations do not have to blackout their NHL radio broadcasts, however, so a tech savvy fan can simply find the radio station's stream, either online or in a radio app, and can listen to the hockey games without needing the NHL app (though it is certainly convenient to have all the games right there on one app).

Further, while MLB also is included in the Apple TV's offerings, so far the NHL has not swung a deal with Apple to be included on that device, though there are rumblings on the Internet that this might be coming soon. Presumably, a new Android app should be arriving, as well – after all, the season starts tonight.

MLB also kept their TV packages out of the App Store. The user paid to download the app or apps, then had to sign up for a package on the MLB website. The NHL chose to stay within the App Store and so will be splitting the revenue with Apple. However, if you signed up for the web version of NHL GameCenter you can download the app and sign into your account under settings to avoid having to pay again.

While I have downloaded the apps on my iOS devices I have not signed up for streaming services yet so I do not know whether the app will stream from your iOS device to an AppleTV (that would pretty much end any need for a separate AppleTV deal since I bet most AppleTV owners also own either an iPhone or iPad). The MLB app doesn't do AirPlay streaming of video (unlike the really nice PBS app), but then again MLB has their own spot on the AppleTV.

Of course, for us relocated Bay Area fans, the start of the NHL season means one more season of watching the Sharks win the Western Conference then fail in the playoffs. But maybe this year...

Police officer arrested today in attack on photojournalist covering Athens Syntagma Square austerity protests

The English language Athens News is reporting that a 26-year-old policeman has been arrested today for an attack on a photojournalist that took place yesterday. The photojournalist, Tatiana Bolari, was covering the austerity protests that were taking place in Syngtagma Square in Athens.

The attack was seemingly unprovoked and was recorded by television news crews and other photographers including Reuters photographer Yannis Behrakis.

Photo by Yannis Behrakis of Reuters

Bolari was covering the protests for Eurokinissi , an agency based in Athens. Bolari founded the photojournalism agency in 1990 along with fellow photographers Vassilis Papadopoulos, George Kontarini and Antonis Nikolopoulos.

According to the Athens News report, Bolari claims that she was insulted by the police officer using profanities, and was hit by the officer in front of her colleagues.

Mag+ issues instructions for magazine publishers who want to get their tablet editions into iOS 5's Newsstand

The public launch of iOS 5 is right around the corner and no doubt publishers who qualify to be in the new digital Newsstand found in the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system are starting to scramble to make sure their publications are included.

Mag+ this morning issued a couple of emails to its customers to remind them of what they need to do to get their magazines into Newsstand. First off, remember, only periodicals that are selling subscriptions through the Apple App Store qualify to get into Newsstand. The new Newsstand app will be loaded onto a users iPhone, iPod touch or iPad when they upgrade to iOS 5, available on October 12, two days before the new iPhone 4S is launched.

Here is some of the advice offered by Mag+:
How do I make my app Newsstand compatible?
  • In order for your app to be Newsstand compatible, you must offer an Apple subscription option. The upgrade consists of five easy steps.
  • Go into, go into the tab “Apps”, go into “Build options”, check the “Enable Newsstand”
  • Upload the the new required asset: A newsstand icon image and for each issue a new cover icon.
  • Go into, go into the tab “Apps”, go into “Build options”. And verify that you have a push notification certificate uploaded. If not, you’ll need to generate one out of your iOS developer portal.
  • Go into iTunes Connect and set up your app for Newsstand [see the details in the in-depth manual].
  • Submit the new app to Apple via your iTunes Connect account as an update, suggested version number 2.6.
One thing that is extremely important to remember is that inside ITunes Connect, inside the Pricing and Availability section you should select "No" next to "Cleared for Sale". Then on the day of the iOS 5 launch next Wednesday you need to go back into the iTunes Connect site and change this to "Yes" – now cleared for sale.

The team at Mag+ are doing a good job of communicating with its customers to explain the ins and outs of Newsstand. It will be interesting to see if Newsstand becomes popular enough to force those publishers still on the fence concerning selling subscriptions through the App Store to finally come on board.

News of Job's death spurs TIME editors to 'stop the presses' to create new issue of magazine, tablet edition

The news last night of the death of Steve Job's death just as TIME editors were putting the latest issue of the magazine to bed. At that point TIME managing editor Rick Stengel decided to "stop the presses" and rebuild the issue with a new cover.
According to the magazine's Tumbler blog, the new version of the issue was created in three hours "many of us working on the very Apple devices that Jobs created," the blog post says.

The new issue, featuring the cover seen at right, will hit newsstands tomorrow, and will be available as well in the TIME Magazine iPad app (as well, it is assumed, on the Android app, TIME Magazine - Tablet, as well).

The new issue will contain a 21 pages dedicated to the life and career of Steve Jobs, including a six-page essay by Walter Isaacson. Isaacson's biography, Steve Jobs, is now set to be released on October 24 after the publisher, Simon & Schuster, decided to move up the publication date (Apple iBooks link here, Amazon link here.)

The issue will also contain a photo essay by Diana Walker, who TIME says has been shooting Jobs since 1982.

California newspapers dedicate their front pages to tributes to Apple's co-founder Steve Jobs

Newspapers in the U.S., for the most, led their editions today with the sad news that Steve Jobs, co-founder of what became today Apple Inc. had died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Most major newspapers gave the story plenty of space, though some newspapers in the South seemed to not be aware of the story or downplayed it. The Atlanta Journal Constitution led with a splash the story that Sarah Palin would not run for President in 2012, dedicating only a couple of inches to the Jobs story.

California newspaper front pages courtesy of Newseum.

Not surprisingly, the news of Jobs death dominated the front pages of California newspapers, where he presence was felt most. The Daily News, the Palo Alto daily newspaper which would be probably considered the hometown paper for Apple (Palo Alto is home to Stanford University and only minutes away from Apple's Cupertino headquarters), dedicated almost its entire front page, saving only a sliver at the bottom for a story about a shooting which of almost the entire day surely appeared to be the lead story.

Hearst's San Francisco Chronicle had the most beautiful font page which featured a large black & white image of Jobs as a younger man, probably the way he, himself would have liked to be remembered. The headline read "The man who saw the future".

The San Diego Union Tribune ran a nice photo of Jobs in silhouette under a large Apple logo.

Many papers were forced to pick up the actual story from other sources in order to build their front pages. The McClatchy owned Sacramento Bee picked up a story written by David Sarno and Christopher Goffard of the Los Angeles Times, while the Union Tribune used a NYT News Service story by John Markoff.

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

Few individuals who could be called an "industrialist" have ever been as beloved by their customers as Apple CEO Steve Jobs – this is clear from the reaction to the news of his death yesterday at the age of 56. The reason for this lies in the experience owners of Apple products have, a feeling that there is a vision behind the product and the company, and the knowledge that their user experience is the most important consideration the company has when designing its products.

My first Apple product was the Apple 2e, and it was purchased because the company was one of the few computer makers that wanted you to be involved with all aspects of the product. The top of the Apple 2 was designed to come off so that you could see the technology inside, so you could share, even a little bit, the excitement of computing felt by its inventors. One of the things Apple customers most complained about with the Mac, though this is often forgotten, was that the Mac was closed – yes, there was magic there, but now you were on the outside.

Apple's own website tribute to its co-founder, Steve Jobs.

As someone who hates the concept of "celebrity" I've never shared in the idea that Steve Jobs was Apple. I felt this way because it was in the very early nineties that I became a lifelong Mac user, and continue to believe it is the best consumer computer platform today. But Steve Jobs was not at Apple then, having been fired a half dozen years earlier (he returned in 1996).

But for me, knowing Steve Jobs was at the helm was incredibly important. No other corporate executive could be counted on, it seemed, to drive innovation, to reach for something new, and most importantly, to insist on quality when all around executives were cutting corners, and cheapening their products.

But Jobs didn't just insist on quality and innovation, he also believed that a successful company "ships"; that is, actually gets that new product to market. For those who question the idea that Jobs was a perfectionist by pointing out Apple's blunders, this is the explanation. The iPhone 3G, for instance, was for me a step back in design, with its cheap plastic back. But the design was in response to pressure to lighten the phone, improve its reception – all good goals and attributes, but the design suffered. No doubt Jobs was that much happier when the iPhone 4 came out.

Apple's role in the publishing business is so enormous it is hard to describe without appearing to exaggerate. TNM was created in order to keep me informed of developments in mobile media and now tablet publishing. Both platforms are the result of Apple launching products that make them possible. It is as if one company was responsible for radio and television.

But, of course, Apple did not invent either the smartphone, nor the tablet – but today Apple's versions of these products are considered the leaders. This is the pattern with Apple – it didn't invent the PC, it invented a better PC.

Many journalists are comparing Jobs today with Henry Ford and Thomas Edison – those are good comparisons because each of them expanded on the ideas of others, worked with colleagues within a company they led, and all three profoundly changed the world.

It is sad to think that with the passing of Jobs we have lost so much. Yet it is amazing to know that we have lived in a time of such incredible change and innovation thanks to Steve Jobs and the companies he has led. Thank you, Steve. And thank you Tim Cook, Jony Ive, Eddy Cue, Scott Forstall, Ron Johnson, Bob Mansfield and all the others who worked with Steve Jobs, and continue to lead Apple today. And thank you Steve Wozniak, for being there at the beginning and building that Apple 2e that Steve Jobs then sold me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wikipedia takes down its Italian site over draft law

The free, web-based, collaborative, encyclopedia project Wikipedia has taken down its Italian website in protest over a proposed new privacy law.

The law is being drafted in response to embarrassing wiretaps of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi who is on trial for corruptions and engaging underage prostitutes.
Wikipedia has replaced their Italian site with a message of protest against the law which it says would require a publisher to remove any material from it site that is deemed detrimental to the image of the person requesting the action – the website would have 48 hours to comply with the request.

L'obbligo di pubblicare fra i nostri contenuti le smentite previste dal comma 29, senza poter addirittura entrare nel merito delle stesse e a prescindere da qualsiasi verifica, costituisce per Wikipedia una inaccettabile limitazione della propria libertà e indipendenza: tale limitazione snatura i principi alla base dell'Enciclopedia libera e ne paralizza la modalità orizzontale di accesso e contributo, ponendo di fatto fine alla sua esistenza come l'abbiamo conosciuta fino a oggi.

The obligation to publish our content in the denials provided by paragraph 29 , even without being able to debate the same and regardless of any inspection, is for Wikipedia an unacceptable restriction of our freedom and independence: this limitation distorts the principles of  Free Encyclopedia and paralyzes access and contributions, effectively putting an end to its existence as we have known up to now.
– very rough Google translation.

The Tennessean releases its first tablet edition; app will need an update to improve performance, and a business model to make it worth the effort

The Gannett owned The Tennessean has released its first iPad app for its Nashville newspaper, but the app crashed several times on my first generation iPad and initially failed to load the articles.
One would expect that an app update may be around the corner for this one.

The Tennessean is a free app that also does not charge for access to the content. The app has a very small and insufficient app description does not mention anything about charging in the future, so I really am confused by this one.

Another thing that confused me is that this app says it was released by The News-Press Media Group, and that the seller is Multimedia Holding Company – Gannett's name can only be found in the legalese found under Information.
The app itself was created by centresource interactive agency out of Nashville. It is possible that this app wasn't tested on a first generation iPad, or other development errors.

Or... it could be that my iPad is misbehaving (it's possible, I have the new beta version of iTunes on my computer right now, though I do not have iOS 5 on the iPad (I do on my iPhone).

So let's skip the performance issues for a second and just look at the app. The Tennessean iPad app gives you both portrait and landscape modes.

In portrait it looks a bit like a newspaper, though there is no variation in headline font sizes immediately gives away the fact that the content is coming in via RSS feeds.
In landscape the left column is taken up by the sections, a terrible waste of real estate. In addition to Top Headlines there is News, Sports, Business, Entertainment, Life, Opinion and Communities, which itself breaks off into sections for local news. There is also Photo Galleries.

What is missing, of course, are those sections devoted to advertising like classified, automotive, real estate. So, no subscription or single copy purchase required, no advertising sections, and no advertising – I guess The Tennessean is doing so well they can give it all away.

donna hay magazine releases first tablet edition in time for 10th birthday; The Economist issues new, improved iPad

Australian food editor Donna Hay is celebrating the 10th birthday of her magazine with the release of its first tablet edition. donna hay magazine is a free iPad app and the third tablet edition put out by Australian publisher News Magazines Pty. (a division of Murdoch's News Corp.)
Donna Hay, in case the name means nothing to you, is a 41-year old Australian food stylist, the former editor of Marie Claire and was for a very short time, the food editor at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald newspapers. She is a regular on Australian television and has quite a number of cookbooks published and available through

This first iPad app for her 90K circulation magazine creates a newsstand for the bi-monthly and offers the first issue free – therefore, this is a good opportunity to check out what the publisher is doing on tablets.

The download is rather slow, but not excessively so. The app has a bit of animation (cover) and has some video, but the guts of the iPad magazine involves its tablet layouts and the way it handles recipes and what it calls "cook mode".

"Recipes" is precisely what you'd expect, a full page with recipe and a few paragraphs on how to prepare the dish – a traditional magazine approach to the topic. "Cook mode", however, gives you step-by-step instructions – one step per page. All that would make this perfect would be if Apple could add in voice controls that would allow cooks to instruct their iPads to turn the page without having to use one's dirty hands to do this (this will come, believe me).

If there is any fault I can see in the app it would be that there is no landscape. This saves lots of storage space and keeps the download times down. But my iPad cover, and the smart covers sold for the iPad 2, allow your tablet to stand up in landscape, not portrait.

The Economist released a second iPad app this week and while it is not radically different than the first app I think there are two good points to be made about it.

First, the new app is called The Economist for iPad. The old app was called The Economist on iPad. This shows the issue developers need to keep in mind when creating apps and submitting them to Apple. Each app needs a separate name, and once you have used one name that name is dead forever – or at least Apple addresses this issue.

As a result, The Economist now has two iPad apps and two iPhone apps – very confusing. To help readers they have added a "new" to the icon of the new apps. Because you can swap out icons at any time they can continue to use this technique to identify the newest apps.

Second point: I love the way this app handles font sizes. Rather than having a font button that increases or decreases the size, this app uses pinch-to-zoom. The problem with pinch-to zoom on replicas is that it zooms in and make you navigate around the page. This app simply increases the font size and repaginates the page – a two page article suddenly is three pages when the font is increased.

Publishers can check this out by downloading the app and downloading the editor's preview, thus avoiding having to pay for the full issue. (Single issues are $5.99, a quarterly subscription is $39.99, and an annual subscription is $119.99.)

Hands on with iOS5

Now that Apple has released the Gold Master of its new mobile operating system, it is a bit easy to evaluate the user experience. But a couple of the most interesting features are still not possible to test until the OS goes live for consumers next week.
The Gold Master, for those without a developer license, is the final version of the operating system before it is released to the public. It is generally the version of the OS that gets installed on new devices until there are additional updates. On the Apple developer site, you can download different versions of the OS depending on your device. My iPhone 4 serves as my app development device.

The first thing one notices upon installing iOS 5 is that the OS loads up two new Apple apps onto your device: Reminders and Newsstand. Reminders is sort of like Calendar alerts but they are location-aware. As an example you can set a reminder to do something once you have reached the office and Reminders will alert you once you have reached your destination.

Newsstand is the app that will manage newspaper and magazine subscriptions. For many people, Newsstand will simply serve as a folder where they will be able to access their periodicals. For publishers, though, it is important to remember that the only way to get your magazine into the Newsstand would be to sell subscriptions through the App Store. Both free media apps, and those that serve simply as reader apps would not qualify. Further, readers can not drag magazine or newspaper apps into the Newsstand themselves in order to better organize their publications.

For most consumers, one of the best additions to iOS5 is the new camera access. When the phone is asleep the user can double tap the home button to pull up iPod controls (now simply called Music, no more iPod app!) and a camera button. Pressing the camera button gives you instant access to the camera, plus now the volume up button will work as a shutter release. It isn't revolutionary as other phones have been using this solution, but it will be a noticeable improvement, nonetheless.

Some other features are not yet live, and others are sort of live. For instance, you can test out iTunes Match in beta by subscribing – it costs $24.99 for a year. The service matches your music library in iCloud and allows you to listen to your music on any iOS device. I have not tried out the service simply because I'm not sure I have the need. Apple has trouble with these kinds of projects in the past, its Ping social media effort for music has not exactly been a big hit, so it will be interesting to see if they can make this work.

The whole iCloud feature is a bit scary for MobileMe users who initially had trouble with MobileMe when it first launched, but for the past few years have enjoyed good service. Now it is going away, which will save users money, but they must transition to iCloud, something I will work on later.

Other features missing are display mirroring, available only on the iPad 2 and the new iPhone 4S. Also, the Siri personal assistant software won't be available for a while, and again that will only work on the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, as well.

Morning Brief: Austerity measures lead to slower growth in U.K.; Claims of 'industrial scale' phone hacking by British papers ; Adobe releases updated versions of Flash, Air

Despite reporting growth rates far below original estimates, the Tory led government reiterated its plans to continue budget cuts. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said today that the economy in the U.K. grew only 0.1% in the second quarter of this year, below even the modest projections of the government.

The government will stick to the deficit reduction plan which has won the UK credibility and stability," a Treasury spokesman was quoted as stating by the BBC, "but the most important thing for the economy now is restoring confidence, which will depend on the eurozone decisively dealing with its problems."

Yesterday Moody's, one of the three big credit rating services, lowered the rating on Italy's bonds by three steps, to A2 from Aa2. "The negative outlook reflects ongoing economic and financial risks in Italy and in the euro area," Moody's said in its announcement.

Showing its perverse side, the news actually spurred stocks to recover late in trading, as the Dow, which had been trading down all day, ended up in positive territory. The reason traders gave for the late day rally was that all the bad news would eventually lead to more action from European finance ministers, though what evidence they would have for this appears elusive.

Actor Hugh Grant yesterday said that he believed that a half a dozen U.K. newspapers were involved in phone hacking. “I know for a fact they have. This will all come out very soon, and not on a minor scale, on a huge industrial scale, through the police inquiry or the Leveson inquiry," Grant told The Telegraph.

Grant continued that he was worried that the Tories would use the scandal as an excuse to widen investigation as a way of attacking the BBC, which conservatives see as being biased.

Lost in all the Apple news yesterday, Adobe released new versions of both Flash and Air, its cross-platform development platform. Flash Player 11 is said to have improved graphics acceleration.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

But what does it all mean? iPhone event is a reminder that in modern publishing the platform itself always changes

This is a point I've made several times in the past, but might be good to repeat again: in modern publishing, in the digital era, the platform always changes.

For many publishers of my generation, change was pretty much always limited to how something gets published, never to the end product itself. One day we use hot type, the next that hot type is set using computers, then desktop publishing is introduced thanks to the PC. But always, always the end product is ink on paper. Sure, sometimes the trim size changes, sometimes more pages appear with color, but essentially technology only effects the tools, not the product.

But that certainly isn't true anymore, is it? Yesterday, when I opened the iPad edition of Food & Wine, a title launched in the '70s, I was not at all surprised to see that the tablet edition opened with a cover animation - it is almost de rigueur today. In other words, the technology that is available is effecting not only how the magazine is being produced, but what the end product looks like as well.

Another example of this is the digital publishing systems being used to create mobile and tablet publications. With native apps, the fonts used during the creation of tablet edition are what you see when you open up the app. But with a replica edition, the meticulously calculated fonts are suddenly shrunk down by the PDF so that the whole page fits the screen.

With the launch of Apple's iOS 5 once again new features, new capabilities will be introduced into the platform. Many are totally irrelevant to the media business. But some may not be, like display mirroring. That is why I could really care less about the introduction of new hardware, a new phone is nice personally, but it really doesn't change the platform. But software changes can sometimes have incredible consequences.

Can you name a single event that has effected publishing in the past three years as important as the announcement that Apple would allow for third party apps on the iPhone? That announcement led to mobile news apps, then to publications designed specifically for tablets. That was a software announcement at the WWDC event (the hardware announcement that day was the iPhone 3G).

(Note: the Engadget live blogger who covered that event in June of 2008 was completely bored by the demo of apps on the iPhone. He was only interested in seeing new hardware. These apps were possible because of the release of what was then called iPhone OS 2. Funny, isn't it to think that we all take it for granted today that a media property, either a print product or a web product, would have their own mobile app. But in 2008, not that long ago, many people missed the significance of the moment.)

Apple unveils its new iPhone: the iPhone 4S, same outside, all new inside; Siri personal assistant software has the reporters oohing and ahhing

In what was a painfully slow and fairly uneventful product roll out event, Apple introduced its newest version of the iPhone. The iPhone 4S, while identical to the Verizon version of the iPhone 4 currently available, will have enough upgrades on the inside to make this a very important update.

The new iPhone 4s will get the A5 processor which will speed up the processing and graphics speeds significantly, allowing for more powerful software solutions such as the Siri personal assistant software (that will not be available to owners of older iPhones).

In fact, it was the Siri demo that ended up blowing away the audience of reporters gathered at the Apple campus in Cupertino. The demo of the beta software made created by the acquisition of Siri last year, along with the integration of Nuance's dictation software, made for an impressive demonstation.

Tim Stevens, who was live blogging for Engadget (which had some serious website issues today) said at the time "This is, seriously, some impressive stuff happening here." He then later tweeted "I knew the Siri Assistant demo would be impressive, but this is amazing."

The new iPhone 4S will be available for preordering on October 7 (this Friday) and will be available on October 14, surely the fastest launch by Apple so far.

For publishers, there was really no big news that came out of this event. With the exception of the Siri demo, all the news concerning iOS 5 was actually old news if you had paid attention to this summer's preview. But now iOS 5 has a launch date, October 12, and developers will be able to get their hands (so to speak) on the Gold Master of the OS immediately.

It is tempting to be a bit disappointed in an event like today's because there appears to be no real new product being launched. But as an iPhone owner since the initial launch I have learned a few things about Apple's upgrades that might be helpful.

The launch of the iPhone 3Gs seemed like a nonevent, as well. But the performance enhancements found inside that model, compared to the iPhone 3G really improved the performance of that phone,.

I think the same will be true for the new iPhone 4S. First, the A5 processor, which is in the iPad 2, will significantly speed up the user experience for those who upgrade. Also, the added processing power will allow for users to use the Siri personal assistant software, as well as mirror their displays using AppleTV. That means your phone can now be a big screen game console, and developers will definitely take advantage of that (and so should developers of media apps).

There are also other invisible upgrades like the camera. Now using an 8 MP sensor from Sony, the camera will take 3264x2448 pictures, and at a faster frequency. When combined with improvements found in iOS 5 there is no question that the iPhone 4s will be most users primary camera choice.

(Apple pointed out in its presentation that the number camera used to upload photos to Flicker is already the iPhone 4.)

Sadly, for many iPhone users, they will find that their old iPhones can not take advantage of some of the new features in iOS 5 - like Siri and mirroring. That often is disappointing, but, of course, builds up the desire to upgrade as soon as they qualify.

So, will the iPhone 4S be a success? Give me a break. That one was determined the day the rumor hit that Sprint would carry the iPhone. Now if you are an AT&T, Verizon or Sprint customer you can buy the iPhone. For T-Mobile or U.S. Cellular customers you are left out - they better offer you a heck of a cheap plan if they want to retain your business.

Adobe's M&A stays busy; company buys PhoneGap

The M&A folks at Adobe Systems have been busy. In addition to the announcement from Adobe about its acquisition of TypeKit, the company also announced yesterday it had acquired Nitobi Software,the maker of PhoneGap and PhoneGap Build, the popular open source platform for building mobile applications with HTML5 and JavaScript.

"PhoneGap has proven to be an industry-defining app solution for HTML5 developers,” said Danny Winokur, vice president and general manager, Platform, Adobe in the announcement. “PhoneGap is a fantastic solution for developing a broad range of mobile apps using the latest Web standards, and is already integrated with Dreamweaver® CS5.5. It’s a perfect complement to Adobe’s broad family of developer solutions, including Adobe AIR, and will allow us to continue to provide content publishers and developers with the best, cutting-edge solutions for creating innovative applications across platforms and devices.”

The company is located in Vancouver and its employees are expected to be retained by Adobe (let's hope so).

Adobe's chief technology officer, Dave Johnson, said that the PhoneGap code will be donated to the Apache Software Foundation. “Adobe has been fully supportive of our decision, further demonstrating Adobe’s continued commitment to the developer and open source communities," Johnson said. "The Apache Software Foundation’s model makes it possible for contributors to collaborate on open source product development and Adobe and Nitobi look forward to engaging with other community members to advance the PhoneGap technology.”

Morning Brief: Microsoft throws in the towel, ends Zune hardware; Food & Wine app gets update from American Express Publishing, free access for print subscribers

Microsoft gave off mixed signals yesterday concerning whether it would continue making its Zune music player. But the tech giant confirmed that the Zune will be discontinued, though it will continue supporting the iPod competitor.

We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players. So what does this mean for our current Zune users? Absolutely nothing. Your device will continue to work with Zune services just as it does today. And we will continue to honor the warranties of all devices for both current owners and those who buy our very last devices.
The move makes sense, not just because Zune was never a real strong competitor to Apple's iPod line. The fact is that even Apple is moving away from the iPod – at least moving away from iPod classic sized music player. Instead, you can expect Apple to continue to push smaller iPods like the iPod nano and iPod shuffle, while also supporting its iPod touch and iPhones (of course).

And that is the message from Microsoft's message: hey, every one will have a smartphone eventually, why would you need a separate music player, too?

There were a slew of media app updates issued this morning. None, that I could see, were specific to the much anticipated release of iOS 5.

The International Herald Tribune of iPad was updated to add the Business Navigator section, which provides travel tools and information concerning travel to China, Saudi Arabia, etc.

The app also now provides round-the-clock updates from the IHT's newsroom in Paris, Hong Kong and New York.

American Express Publishing has finally updated its app for Food & Wine. The app now allows current print subscribers to log-in to receive issues free of charge.

This feature is a requirement of all magazine apps that charge for a print subscription and it was crazy that AmEx didn't update this app before now. The app, which is otherwise a really good one, was getting hammered in the App Store by readers mad at the company for double dipping readers.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read this headline on the Guardian website this morning: Eurozone finance ministers refuse immediate bailout for Athens – the fact that it wasn't leading the news shows the attitude of the media towards all this, a kind of what else is new? attitude.

The story here is that the Eurozone ministers have delayed giving their approval for the new €8bn bailout until next month.
Jean-Claude Juncker, Eurogroup chairman, repeatedly made plain early on Tuesday that none of the eurozone countries was urging a Greek default and categorically denied that there was any question of Greece leaving the euro area.
The headline reaction in Athens was Haircut under review, no new aid until November. The reaction of the European markets was immediate: the Dax is currently down 3.43 percent and is once again threatening to fall through its 52-week floor. The FTSE and CAC are also down over two and half percent, while U.S. stock futures are down, as well.

Reuters quotes Jane Foley, senior currency strategist at Rabobank, as saying that "the market is increasingly worried about the potential of the Greek crisis and the calamity that could be created if there was a messy default."

Finally, Apple will be dominating the news this afternoon as they will be conducting an event at its campus in Cupertino. Although few have mentioned it, the choice of Cupertino to hold the event, as opposed to San Francisco, is itself a bit of a statement.

Big events usually are schedule for the Buena Vista Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The choice of the Cupertino campus is probably a way of making things more comfortable for newly promoted CEO Tim Cook, as well as a way of saying that this is a product update event rather that the launch of something altogether new.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Late afternoon news briefs: Latest trial of the century; Greece, Greece and more Greece; Apple event tomorrow

Although it has been covered somewhat in the U.S. press, the appeal hearing of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito has been huge news in Italy and the U.K. Both have been in prison for four years after being convicted of the murder of U.K. student Meredith Kercher. (Here is the Wikipedia entry for the case.)
Today both won their appeals and will be set free immediately – Knox to return to the U.S. asap.

Since TNM is not a crime blotter site I will not go into the issue of the crime itself and the evidence. But for The Guardian and the BBC this has been the big story for the past week. Both The Guardian's U.S. and U.K. sites are making this the lead, but the U.K. site is giving the appeal hearing and the verdict more real estate than the U.S. site.

Will this Greece story ever go away? The Athens News today leads with the headline Despair and resignation as more pain looms as the country moves into its fourth year of recession.

The story is not exactly uplifting. Amalia Dougia, a 45-year-old single mother, talks about her two daughters currently at university.

"The oldest wants to leave the country, but where would I get the money to help her out? I've given up planning for the future. I just accept life as it comes," she said. "I've thought about suicide, but I have to look after my children."

The Alphaville blog on is talking about a report that Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has thought about resigning. As John McDermott, who writes the blog says, "Well, wouldn’t you?". The post is pointing to a story on FT Deutschland (not owned by the Financial Times) that speculates on such a move by Papandreou, so it certainly should be read with a healthy does of skepticism.

In any case, both the U.S. and European markets tumbled again today. If this were a few years ago a drop in the Dow of over 250 points would have led the news. Today it is business as usual.

The Apple rumor mill is churning out lots of material today, but the big one is the WSJ's story about Sprint which says that Chief Executive Dan Hesse has "bet the company" on the iPhone*.* According to the report, Sprint has agreed to purchase 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years and that Hesse has told the Sprint board not to expect the company to make money on this deal until 2014.

According to the WSJ story the lack of the iPhone is "the No. 1 reason customers leave or switch," Mr. Hesse said at an industry conference last month.

Four years ago I left Sprint for AT&T precisely so I could get an iPhone, much to the disappointment of the rest of the family who weren't getting iPhones! Now everyone owns an iPhone except one daughter who uses an Android phone (and hates it).

9to5Mac earlier today posted this interview with Norman Winarsky co-founder of Siri, a company acquired by Apple in 2010. Siri makes (or made) personal assistant software. That would be the voice control software that allows you to say something into your phone and your phone recognizes it and responds.

Apple is rumored (yet another rumor) to be adding advanced voice controls in the new version of the iOS software to be released any day now.

Winarsky says "Let me first say I have no knowledge of what Apple plans to do with the Siri purchase."

He then amazingly goes on to say "Make no mistake: Apple’s ‘mainstreaming’ Artificial Intelligence in the form of a Virtual Personal Assistant is a groundbreaking event. I’d go so far as to say it is a World-Changing event."

I found that pretty funny. "Hey, I don't know anything. But ..."

But what is important for media people to understand is that most of the talk about Apple tomorrow may center around hardware, new carrier deals, and the like. But inevitably what will effect consumers and media companies more will be software. iOS5 may be where the real action is.

Unfortunately there will once again not be a live video stream of the Apple event tomorrow apparently. It begins at 10 PDT, 1 EDT. Most of the major tech sites will live blog the event, while TNM will talk about the implications of any news as it effects publishers after the end of the event.

If the whole thing turns out to be a dud I'll talk about the Badgers victory over the Cornhuskers instead (big news in these parts).

WoodWing to integrate the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite into its Enterprise solution, retire its own file formats

The Dutch digital publishing solutions provider WoodWing today announced that they begin selling the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, and that it would begin concentrating its efforts on editorial workflow solutions.

"This is the right time for WoodWing to fully focus on its core activities, which is to streamline and optimize the editorial workflow. For the publishing, distribution and optimization of tablet content, we are going to rely on Adobe Digital Publishing Suite," said Erik Schut, President of WoodWing Software.

WoodWing said it will transition customers from its Content Delivery Service and Reader application to the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, and hopes to complete the transition by November of next year. Current customers will have to make the transition to Adobe as the WoodWing file formats will "retired".

Current WoodWing customers will no doubt have a lot of questions about this move so the company has posted an FAQ online (PDF link).

Adobe Systems acquires website font company Typekit

Adobe Systems today announced that it had acquired Typekit, a company that provides fonts for use on websites. The announcement was made at the MAX 2011 technology conference.

Adobe said that the Typekit fonts will continue to be offered as a standalone service, but will eventually be offered as part of Adobe Creative Cloud.

"Typography is a fundamental design element and something that designers want to be more creative with on websites -- especially as these websites now need to be viewed on mobile devices," said Lea Hickman, vice president, Product Management, Adobe, in the company's announcement. "Working closely with type foundries, the Typekit team has delivered an outstanding service, empowering designers to present the power of the printed word in new ways -- online and on devices."

"This is an exciting time to be designing for the Web. As millions of new users come online via tablets and smartphones, capturing their attention via high-impact typography has never been more relevant," said Jeffrey Veen, chief executive officer, Typekit.

Update: After the jump you can find the e-mail I just received concerning the acquisition from Typekit CEO Jeffrey Veen:

Cheer up, publishers aren't the only ones struggling with their digital publishing issues, even some vendors are lost

Many publishers tell me that the whole mobile and tablet publishing issue has them staying up at night. How can they afford to launch mobile and tablet apps when their print and online publishing ventures are no longer as profitable as they once were? Who has the money to invest in something new when the something old won't pay for it?

But publishers aren't the only one confused and a bit afraid. A call to some digital publishing vendors revealed that some of the same challenges facing publishers are also facing the companies that have traditionally sold to them: moving their legacy products into new digital platforms.

A few calls revealed that many vendors are stuck selling their usual wares while publishers clamor for newer features. When asked if a company could get a publishers flipbook into an app form a sales person told me that their digital publishing solutions were strictly web based, if you were going to read the digital product on an iPad, for instance, it would be through the Safari browser.

"Are you working towards an app solution for your customer?" I asked the sales representative. "They don't tell me those kinds of things," came the response.

This is, no doubt, one of the reasons a major printer like RR Donnelley went a head and acquired LibreDigital. No doubt Donnelley was seeing increased demand for certain services and felt the need to continue to provide them, or else risk the loss of business.

“Through acquisitions and new product development we continue to extend RR Donnelley’s reach across the breadth of the supply chain,” said Thomas J. Quinlan III, the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Adding LibreDigital’s proven, innovative capabilities to our digital content creation and delivery platform will enable us to offer our publishing, retail, ereader provider and other customers an even broader selection of services.”
So what do you do when you are getting wish-washy answers from your vendors concerning what they can offer and when? My suggestion: call them in. Get the rep to bring in someone from the management team to explain where the company is going. If they can't do that for you then you probably shouldn't be doing business with them anyway.

Morning Brief: Washington Post launches new Android mobile app; NPR names Gary Knell CEO; Huffington Post announces new sections, hires, and an acquisition

The Washington Post launched a new mobile app into the Android Market this morning, replacing its previously released version from last year.
"As we think about more ways to reach our local and national audiences, we will continue to innovate and develop products that deliver rich user experiences," said Ken Babby, Chief Revenue Officer and General Manager of Digital at The Washington Post.

The new news app joins The Insider, an app for Washington Redskins fans, in the Android Market. The company also has two other Android apps available: Trove, a news aggregation app, and DC Rider, and DC Rider, for Metro-riding Washingtonians.

The Post has eight apps in Apple's App Store for the iPhone, and four for the iPad. These include the mobile and tablet apps for which show up in the Android Market under the Slate Group name.

NPR named a new CEO over the weekend, Gary Knell, previously president and CEO of Sesame Workshop.

Dave Edwards, chairman of NPR's board of directors, called Knell "an extraordinary leader with extensive experience in public media, programming and education." Knell has been the head of Sesame Workshop for 12 years, and prior to that was Managing Director of Manager Media International, a print and multimedia publishing company based in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The Huffington Post alos made some announcements this morning. The AOL owned site is launch four new sections this week: Huff/Post50, with Rita Wilson as Editor-at-Large; HuffPost Gay Voices; HuffPost Weddings; and HuffPost High School. The online site also announced that it has hired Lisa Belkin from the New York Times to come is as Senior Columnist Covering Parenting, Work/Life Balance, and Family. Blekin wrote the Motherlode blog for the NYT.

The HuffPost also announced that it has acquired Localocracy, a, online engagement platform which enables citizens to solve community issues.

What else is new: U.S. stock market futures are down this Monday morning as the trading week has begun in Europe. The German Dax is down another 2.7 percent with other markets down, as well. A few good days of trading, however, have led the markets to bounce off their 52-week lows. The Dax, for instance, hit its 52-week low on September 12th and has been bouncing around since then.