iPad Mags Need A New Blueprint

Ever since the iPad came out, print media companies have been feeling their way in this new medium, but so far they've just been stumbling over themselves. They are latching onto the iPad as a new walled garden where people will somehow magically pay for articles they can get for free in their browsers. But if they want people to pay, the experience has to be better than on the Web, and usually it's not. This sorry state of affairs is true for both magazines and newspapers. The New York Times iPad app, for instance, is gorgeous but crippled. All the links are stripped out of the articles, even from the blogs. Meanwhile, most iPad magazines are little more than PDFs of the print issues with some photo slideshows and videos thrown in. They end up being huge files—I recently downloaded a single issue that was 350 MB, some issues of Wired are 500 MB—with the same stale articles as in the print version. Replicating a dead-tree publishing model on a touchscreen is a recipe for obsolescence.
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