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Rival publishers rumored to align for iTunes-like magazine store

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
Time Inc., Condé Nast and Hearst are rumored to be among a number of competing publishers that will come together and create an iTunes-style digital store for selling magazines on devices like Apple's iPhone and rumored tablet.

The joint company will make more than 50 popular magazines -- including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Time, People and Sports Illustrated -- available for a variety of devices, including Apple's iPhone. According to The New York Observer, the consortium has not yet reached a final agreement, though an official deal could be "announced within weeks."

The consortium's alleged plans have been known for some time, though no official announcements have been made. But now, the agreement is reportedly "very close" to becoming final.

Expected to play a part in the new digital distribution product is Apple's still-unannounced tablet device, due to arrive in 2010. In October, people familiar with the group led by Time Inc. said that the associated publishers are targeting Apple's tablet, and have had discussions with the hardware maker about putting their magazines on the device.

Numerous reports in recent months have suggested Apple has been reaching out to content publishers, including The New York Times, McGraw Hill and Oberlin Press, to get them to make their publications available for purchase on the forthcoming device.

The forming of the group of publishers has reportedly been spearheaded by John Squires, executive vice president with Time Inc. Sources allegedly told The Observer that Squires will leave his current position to become the interim executive of the new collaborative company, when it is formed.

Magazine publishers are reportedly wary of attempting to create their own digital distribution methods. But all feel if they cooperate and create a joint business venture, they have a better chance of succeeding.

The deal has taken some time behind the scenes because accommodating a number of devices and form factors has proven to be one of many challenges. In addition to the iPhone and Apple's tablet, the publishers are expected to embrace the Amazon Kindle and Research in Motion's BlackBerry line.

"It’s pretty complicated stuff," one source reportedly said. "The really, really hard part is that you’ve got so many different kinds of devices running on different operating systems. And how do you handle that? The consortium provides one point of contact for the consumer. When you come to the main store, you can get the content any way you want."
post #2 of 58
The web browser already is quite well suited to displaying magazine like content. Maybe though people are in the habit of everything on the web being free, so they feel they have to change the medium if they want to start charging. And also, I guess a PDF file often looks better than an HTML one.
post #3 of 58
It is pretty predictable that iTunes or a section of it will be the most successful vendor of such things. If Apple go into this the way many of us suspect the rivals will be left in the dust and the magazine companies have history to look to now to know who to go with ... Apple. The exact method of display be it pdf or some new format will no doubt all be part of the Tablet's introduction presentation by SJ. I would suspect Apple might come up with a proprietary format allowing features we have not seen before but I could be wrong.

As to getting everything for free as mentioned by ascii, the Apps store model allows for free, very low cost and higher priced. Many may opt for free with advertising within the product to pay for it while others may charge 99 cents. The Apps store is the perfect model to copy right down to add ons, upgrades and subscription built right into the store.
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post #4 of 58
this is probably a smart move for them, but nothing they offer is worth paying for. They are all left wing propaganda arms of the democratic party.
post #5 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by res08hao View Post

this is probably a smart move for them, but nothing they offer is worth paying for. They are all left wing propaganda arms of the democratic party.

Well then you will be happy to know that Rupert Murdoch wants to charge people for his stuff too.
post #6 of 58
Seems like all the other media has alligned against Apple after viewing how the music industry was saved, yet creat a cash cow for Apple in their iPods.
I wonder if it will be open and Larry Flynt and Playboy are included?
post #7 of 58
To be successful any eReader type device must have PDF as it's native format.
The iPod had MP3s which were which were widely and freely available.
There is an abundance of content already in PDF format and a great hardware analog to this already popular format is the key.

Apple could offer another DRMed PDF-like format for paid content like they did with protected-AAC.

If they create an App Store like model where for a $100 sign up fee you can become a publisher on the PDF Store, they could have a publishing revolution on their hands.
post #8 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

As to getting everything for free as mentioned by ascii, the Apps store model allows for free, very low cost and higher priced. Many may opt for free with advertising within the product to pay for it while others may charge 99 cents. The Apps store is the perfect model to copy right down to add ons, upgrades and subscription built right into the store.

I wouldn't say the app store model is perfect for the app store itself, since there its chock full of apps, making it difficult to find the better and higher priced ones. It is better suited to magazines because they tend to be more well known. Although pricing may have to be more "uniform" (like music and movies). Also Zinio is pretty cool, maybe they should all hop on that.

Edit: A possible DRM like implementation would be making movies available on one device at a time, ala rented movies on iTunes.
post #9 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

If they create an App Store like model where for a $100 sign up fee you can become a publisher on the PDF Store, they could have a publishing revolution on their hands.

Which would be quite the full circle for the Mac! Desktop publishing is in it's DNA if I recall.
post #10 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

If they create an App Store like model where for a $100 sign up fee you can become a publisher on the PDF Store, they could have a publishing revolution on their hands.

Thats a really good point. I didn't think about them opening it up to independents. It could really have big impact on how well the store does. Look at the App Store, while iTunes independent artists are great too, I think making a digital publishing is much easier than being a talented musician Poor Kindle is going to need a overhaul if its going to run the same media though. Too basic in its current state.
post #11 of 58
I am not sure I understand the idea behind punting entire publications at people. I sort of understand it for Newspapers, but not for Magazines etc. I can't see how it would be any better than an RSS feed from a good website. In many ways I can't see why a micro transaction model based on individual articles wouldn't be better than just virtualising traditional print. OK, maybe they can make it ad-free what with it being paid content, but last I saw traditional paid content AKA magazines were stuffed to the gills with ads.

The only thing I can thing of them doing is integrating some clever "page turning" actions etc that divorce the content from the content provider, effectively hiding the browser buttons to make it look more like you are reading content, than using a program.

Obviously everyone is different, but the one thing I would love to see is interactive graphic novels - even something as simple as transition effects between panels and simple introduction of subtle sound effects, background music etc would be neat, maybe a little narration (not full dialogue!). This sort of content, provided either episodically or "all-in-one" for back catalogue would be welcome on any device I own, although I don't see why the iPhone couldn't handle it as it stands without the need for a new tablet device...

...yours, confused but eager to find out...
post #12 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by res08hao View Post

this is probably a smart move for them, but nothing they offer is worth paying for. They are all left wing propaganda arms of the democratic party.

Most people have abandoned mainstream news for "alternative" and underground news sites on the web. Bringing their sports, trivia, ads, and negative, shallow, biased, family-hostile reporting to the web will not spur a growth in readership.

I hope there continues to be choice on the web!
post #13 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

The web browser already is quite well suited to displaying magazine like content. Maybe though people are in the habit of everything on the web being free, so they feel they have to change the medium if they want to start charging. And also, I guess a PDF file often looks better than an HTML one.

We know nothing about the rumored Tablet so who is to say that the format would be HTML, PDF or something else. It is possible that said 'magazines' would come in a format not unlike the itunes extras/lp that could have 'print', video etc. with navigation much like a small website.

Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

The exact method of display be it pdf or some new format will no doubt all be part of the Tablet's introduction presentation by SJ.

i have to agree with the core notion here. for the Tablet to take off there needs to be content for all facets. They have video and audio and the 'net covered. if they intend for this device to also be an ereader and/or game device they need those ready as well. which is part of why I won't be surprised if they announce in Jan/Feb but release in June. and if at the same time they announce a new liason position within the App Store department to work with the magazine companies (who will have their own SDK to make the mags) and hopefully also a larger staff and groups dedicated to speed approving scaled up versions of previously approved apps.

Quote:
As to getting everything for free as mentioned by ascii, the Apps store model allows for free, very low cost and higher priced. Many may opt for free with advertising within the product to pay for it while others may charge 99 cents. The Apps store is the perfect model to copy right down to add ons, upgrades and subscription built right into the store.

I suspect that they would offer up a pricing similar to the print realm. X price per issue, or you can buy by the month/year for a slight discount.

Quote:
Originally Posted by res08hao View Post

this is probably a smart move for them, but nothing they offer is worth paying for. They are all left wing propaganda arms of the democratic party.

1. the right wing and the republican party aren't really any better
2. some folks out there are into left wing democratic party propaganda.
3. no one is making you buy the device or the content so if you don't think it is worth it, don't buy. simple as that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

To be successful any eReader type device must have PDF as it's native format.

Says you. Some disagree. We'll see which side Apple is on. It is very likely since the Tablet is not likely to be just a Kindle with the Apple logo stuck on it that the "books" won't be PDF, at least not as the only possible format.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robodude View Post

I wouldn't say the app store model is perfect for the app store itself, since there its chock full of apps, making it difficult to find the better and higher priced ones.

In some cases, the problem isn't the app store but that the developers don't market themselves very well. so work needs to be done on both sides

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post #14 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

Well then you will be happy to know that Rupert Murdoch wants to charge people for his stuff too.

And how will this not be him already getting his way?
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post #15 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuffe View Post

I am not sure I understand the idea behind punting entire publications at people. I sort of understand it for Newspapers, but not for Magazines etc. I can't see how it would be any better than an RSS feed from a good website.

It would be similar to RSS feeds but Im going to read a magazine on a website. I hate the format of a webpage for reading many articles and periodicals arent making the money they used from having to go with a webpage format. I want something that is pretty much the magazine you get on the shelf but in digital form. Not the gaudy display that web-based media has become or the poor interaction that is had from reading a PDF in a browser.

The page flipping is a start for newspapers and periodicals. Games like crosswords and suduko can be interactive. Like podcasts they can automatically download and be ready for viewing when you pick it up.Using a finger swipe to change the pages would be nice. Id pay the pay the money for this type of setup.

Id also like to see text books get on board. No need to carry 25 kilos of books with you anymore. This is good for publishers as can update any inevitable errors and they can charge each student instead of having a resale market affect their sales. This only works if there are rich annotations available so i write notes on pages, underline, highlight, cross out, etc.
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post #16 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

The web browser already is quite well suited to displaying magazine like content. Maybe though people are in the habit of everything on the web being free, so they feel they have to change the medium if they want to start charging. And also, I guess a PDF file often looks better than an HTML one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

The exact method of display be it pdf or some new format will no doubt all be part of the Tablet's introduction presentation by SJ. I would suspect Apple might come up with a proprietary format allowing features we have not seen before but I could be wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

To be successful any eReader type device must have PDF as it's native format.
The iPod had MP3s which were which were widely and freely available.
There is an abundance of content already in PDF format and a great hardware analog to this already popular format is the key.

Apple could offer another DRMed PDF-like format for paid content like they did with protected-AAC.

If they create an App Store like model where for a $100 sign up fee you can become a publisher on the PDF Store, they could have a publishing revolution on their hands.

Another poster beat me to it, but I think Apple already has a format in mind for this, and it's not PDF. It will be a version of the LP (music) and Extras (video) formats, but for readable material...magazines, newspapers, etc.

But I don't know a whole lot about how proprietary this format is. I believe it's based on open standards, but encapsulated in Apple's DRM, similar to how Apple put AAC instead of FairPlay. What I don't know is whether the format is entirely based on open standards if you take away the DRM? Could a publisher not use Apple's DRM and build essentially the same things as LP/Extras and distribute it without a license from Apple?

If so, they'd have to figure out their business model...either add their own DRM or rely on ads and give away the content for free (but then people could probably strip out the ads and bit torrent the content if there was no DRM). And if they did use that format, they could just submit it to Apple for iTunes delivery to iPods/iPhone/tablet, or distribute it themselves for other devices.
post #17 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by res08hao View Post

this is probably a smart move for them, but nothing they offer is worth paying for. They are all left wing propaganda arms of the democratic party.

YEAH!!
I'm so tired of all those Commie athletes in Sports Illustrated.
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post #18 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

To be successful any eReader type device must have PDF as it's native format.
.

I'd say the exact opposite. If I never saw a PDF again I'd be thrilled.
Why would content in HTML5 not be way more flexible?
post #19 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

To be successful any eReader type device must have PDF as it's native format.

I believe it would have to be able to use pdf (or incorporate pdf into a new format) but pdf would not have to be the native format.
post #20 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

To be successful any eReader type device must have PDF as it's native format.
The iPod had MP3s which were which were widely and freely available.
There is an abundance of content already in PDF format and a great hardware analog to this already popular format is the key.

Apple could offer another DRMed PDF-like format for paid content like they did with protected-AAC.

If they create an App Store like model where for a $100 sign up fee you can become a publisher on the PDF Store, they could have a publishing revolution on their hands.

I like your ideas however it may be a problem for Apple supporting PDF to such an extent given the recent falling out with Adobe over Flash. In my opinion Flash a pretty good complement to digital publishing because it opens up the possibility of mixed media content embedded within an Acrobat PDF, but unfortunately not viewable on iPhone.

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post #21 of 58
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Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I like your ideas however it may be a problem for Apple supporting PDF to such an extent given the recent falling out with Adobe over Flash. In my opinion Flash a pretty good complement to digital publishing because it opens up the possibility of mixed media content embedded within an Acrobat PDF, but unfortunately not viewable on iPhone.

Flash to display print would be a terrible idea. Have you ever seen a virtual magazine in action? Vectorized text is a very big problem for flash making virtual magazines horribly slow, they render fonts inaccurately, images are flaky; sometimes not loading at all, transparency and animation is often inconsistent from one viewing to the next and when you add multimedia on top of all the text and images you've got some major bandwidth concerns. In the end you bog down the CPU rendering fonts and animations and then suck up all of the bandwidth with multimedia. CRASH!!!! Apple will not use flash for an Emag and PDF while open is Adobe's brainchild. The new tablet may very well support both but neither will be the itunes store distribution format.

HTML5 is the best option for multimedia rich experience and all Apple has to do is wrap it up in a proprietary shell; Easy for developers, publishers, Apple the end user and even the device itself, by making a magazine easy to render and easy to control the bandwidth of the media contained in it. NO CRASH! That is definitely the most important thing to Apple and Steve. If it crashes the device, Steve won't allow it. AKA flash on the iphone and possibly flash on any ARM based device from Apple.
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post #22 of 58
I believe everyone is underestimating the impact that Apple will have on the publishing industry with this tablet device. Although PDF will be a standard format to begin with, that's only the beginning.

We need to think outside the box about what magazine and newspaper content should be going forward, and I believe Steve Jobs is doing just that.

We know that the tablet will be full-color and Multitouch-enabled. But do you think that will just be limited to zooming in on content or simply flipping pages? Not hardly.

Imagine magazine subscription content that is truly interactive, with audio and video. A digital version of the now-shuttered Gourmet, for example, could include video of the opening night of a new, hip restaurant in New York, a Flash-based step-by-step cooking demonstration, and interactive recipes and calorie charts linked to a subscriber-only blog where readers could interact with either the editors and/or a famous chef. Users could also share their own digital content with each other. And all of it would be contained in a new, portable file format that is so compelling in its richness of content, other devices will look positively ancient by comparison.

We talk about how people don't want to pay for content, but I believe people would pay for this. The more content-rich it is and the more interactive it is, the more it will capture a particular audience's attention and dollars.

If this becomes the new paradigm, then writers and editors will require digital content creation skills to survive. At the same time, if the publishing industry can eliminate the overhead of destroying forests for paper, renting huge warehouses for storage, and shipping costs, they can run a cost-effective operation, and put that money into content. And it's eco-friendly.

Notice how music stores and video rental stores have disappeared over the past 10 years? Newsstands will be the next to go. Mark my words. Once people get used to feature-rich content that can be accessed instantaneously, no one will bother with running out into the rain to pick up a newspaper or magazine.

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post #23 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by res08hao View Post

this is probably a smart move for them, but nothing they offer is worth paying for. They are all left wing propaganda arms of the democratic party.

Yes! Those damned left wing socialist liberal commie rats! Wait a minute... isn't Apple also just an apparatchic agency put here to infiltrate and brainwash gullible technoheads like us? DOH! Now where did I put my silver foil hat?
post #24 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by spliff monkey View Post

Flash to display print would be a terrible idea. Have you ever seen a virtual magazine in action? Vectorized text is a very big problem for flash making virtual magazines horribly slow, they render fonts inaccurately, images are flaky; sometimes not loading at all, transparency and animation is often inconsistent from one viewing to the next and when you add multimedia on top of all the text and images you've got some major bandwidth concerns. In the end you bog down the CPU rendering fonts and animations and then suck up all of the bandwidth with multimedia. CRASH!!!! Apple will not use flash for an Emag and PDF while open is Adobe's brainchild. The new tablet may very well support both but neither will be the itunes store distribution format.


Whatever. You didn't quite grasp the meaning of my post or you are just spouting off what you have heard about HTML5. I seriously doubt you are even familiar with either technology as a developer. Furthermore everything you complained about in Flash is much more of a problem for HTML5 not to mention that hardly any of the current browsers support it fully or at all.

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post #25 of 58
I predict that Google will arrive soon with a competing, me-too software offering, and it'll probably be called Hemorrhoid (or something similar).
post #26 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

I'd say the exact opposite. If I never saw a PDF again I'd be thrilled.
Why would content in HTML5 not be way more flexible?

I imagine so. I imagine a format to be viewed on so many completely different devices (screen sizes) would need to be entirely dependent on CSS
post #27 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

Another poster beat me to it, but I think Apple already has a format in mind for this, and it's not PDF. It will be a version of the LP (music) and Extras (video) formats, but for readable material...magazines, newspapers, etc.

Winner. This is exactly what will happen.

And I can't believe how narrow minded some of you are as to the possibilities of digital magazines. There are all kinds of multimedia opportunities possible on an HD, multi-touch enabled, Internet connected device.

Printed magazines = vinyl LPs
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post #28 of 58
I really doubt printed magazines = Vinyl LPs.

I think the future will be digital distribution for the quick hitters with the printed material going more upscale.

McSweeney's Panorama is the future.

Much as I like my RSS, it doesn't replace the Sunday Times at the door.

I agree that many magazines are not the Sunday Times and have no reason to still be printed. But I think the remaining players will do more with print.
post #29 of 58
I've tried Zinio digital magazine reader several years ago. I didn't care too much for it. A light weight tablet might be better to use than a laptop for digital magazine, but there must be a killer UI or nobody is going to pay for them.
post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ensign Pulver View Post

Winner. This is exactly what will happen.

And I can't believe how narrow minded some of you are as to the possibilities of digital magazines. There are all kinds of multimedia opportunities possible on an HD, multi-touch enabled, Internet connected device.

Printed magazines = vinyl LPs

I don't know how well publishing content is going to be received if it only works on the tablet device. I would think they, the publishers, would want to have it work on all platforms to maximize the potential market. Apple may want to do it differently but the RIVAL publishers and iTunes-LIKE store mentioned in the article, might select a existing standardized format. Personally I do not cherish the idea of having to get my content from the iTunes store. I would much rather get it from anywhere and read it on any device.

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post #31 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

I'd say the exact opposite. If I never saw a PDF again I'd be thrilled.
Why would content in HTML5 not be way more flexible?

It might be a better way to go (HTML5)... PDFs are not as interactive, and if information could not be streamed into the device on demand, file sizes could become far too large to make the PDFs practical.

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post #32 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

It might be a better way to go (HTML5)... PDFs are not as interactive, and if information could not be streamed into the device on demand, file sizes could become far too large to make the PDFs practical.

I think there is a quite a bit of sacrifice with HTML5. The print industry is really into complex layering, clipped, drop shadowed, unique fonts, etc. I just don't think they would be willing to give all that up and settle for a web page.

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post #33 of 58
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Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I think there is a quite a bit of sacrifice with HTML5. The print industry is really into complex layering, clipped, drop shadowed, unique fonts, etc. I just don't think they would be willing to give all that up and settle for a web page.

Remember, this would likely be a locked format on a device running OS X. There is no font that couldnt be had. And its not just HTML but CSS and JavaScript. This really is the best way to go. PDF has too many limitations and Flash is just too power hungry. Open standards webcode like Apple is using in iTunes LP is the perfect fit, IMO.
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post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Remember, this would likely be a locked format on a device running OS X. There is no font that couldnt be had. And its not just HTML but CSS and JavaScript. This really is the best way to go. PDF has too many limitations and Flash is just too power hungry. Open standards webcode like Apple is using in iTunes LP is the perfect fit, IMO.

I don't read the Apple OS X part in the article. They are talking about Blackberry, Kindle, and all devices. Furthermore the LP format has no development tools and has to live inside iTunes.

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post #35 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I don't read the Apple OS X part in the article. They are talking about Blackberry, Kindle, and all devices. Furthermore the LP format has no development tools and has to live inside iTunes.

Ah, yes, any rival wont but I thought you speaking of the mythical Apple tablet. CSS making getting fonts or even substituting easy. I am not even sure a rival platform would go with Adobe products. If they did theyd have to go with Flash to get any interactive media and that isnt even ready for small devices and will still be a power hog when it does finally arrive.
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post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I don't read the Apple OS X part in the article. They are talking about Blackberry, Kindle, and all devices. Furthermore the LP format has no development tools and has to live inside iTunes.

Didn't I read somewhere that Apple had said that the initial examples of the LP format were just proof of concept, and that they would make the tools available to content creators to roll their own?
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post #37 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Ah, yes, any rival wont but I thought you speaking of the mythical Apple tablet. CSS making getting fonts or even substituting easy. I am not even sure a rival platform would go with Adobe products. If they did theyd have to go with Flash to get any interactive media and that isnt even ready for small devices and will still be a power hog when it does finally arrive.

Having worked with CSS/Javascript through all of its issues for many years now, I would never refer to it as easy, or having consistent rendering across different platforms. Web based fonts installed at load time are far from seamless and there is no standard license from the various foundries. PDF is a very mature format, not to mention ubiquitous. Embedding of Flash is something that can live in a separate area in the document and stream. No one should assume that the entire print publication would be delivered in Flash. I am hopeful that the new Tablet, should it exist, will support Flash and PDF. The current version of PDF rendering on iPhone is somewhat crippled.

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post #38 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I am hopeful that the new Tablet, should it exist, will support Flash and PDF. The current version of PDF rendering on iPhone is somewhat crippled.

Supporting Flash and PDFs are different from using that as the model for you periodical and newspaper subscription services. Apple has already experienced with iTunes LP which is just HTML, CSS and JS. If Apple were to release a tablet with this service you dont think they would make a development kit these companies can use to offer their subscriptions with?
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post #39 of 58
Hmmm how could we possibly make print media slow bloated and cpu intensive as possible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

In my opinion Flash a pretty good complement

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post #40 of 58
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Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Supporting Flash and PDFs are different from using that as the model for you periodical and newspaper subscription services. Apple has already experienced with iTunes LP which is just HTML, CSS and JS. If Apple were to release a tablet with this service you dont think they would make a development kit these companies can use to offer their subscriptions with?


Unlike the iPhone which is a huge success, I see the Tablet as a more modest niche device. Tailoring content exclusively for that format might be risky. I do believe that whatever the publishers have in mind, it clearly needs to run on a wide variety of devices or the digital equivalent of magazine publishing will not get off the ground.

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