Wired Magazine Hits the iPad: First Issue Looks at Pixar

| Product News

Wired magazine announced Wednesday that Wired for iPad is now available from the App Store. Fittingly enough, the first issue for iPad (the June issue) looks at Apple CEO Steve Jobs’s former company, Pixar, with an inside look at how Toy Story 3 was made.

“The irony that Wired, a magazine founded to chronicle the digital revolution, has traditionally come to you each month on the smooshed atoms of dead trees is not lost on us,” editor-in-chief Chris Anderson said in a letter posted at Wired.com. “Let’s just say the medium is not always the message. Except that now it is.”

The issue includes interactive elements, video and more. The company said the app was developed with tools from Adobe, and that versions for other tablets will be released soon. The app is US$4.99.

Wired for iPad

Wired for iPad

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Comments

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Adobe (yes, “lazy” Adobe) custom built the tools used to make the app. The content is done with InDesign. An Adobe employee says that the process will let them export to other platforms in the future.

Chris Anderson also tweeted that there’d be a freemium pricing model in the future.

I wish I could buy this for another device right now. Kudos to Adobe for taking control and bearing down despite the ridiculous curve ball thrown at them by Apple.

John Martellaro

I’ve downloaded the issue, and it’s awesomely beautiful. Even the ads are worth a look - though there are a lot of them.

I’d rather see a subscription-class ($2) price rather than a newsstand price ($5). I’ll have to read the whole issue before I decide if I’ll keep buying.

ilikeimac

So this single issue is an app unto itself? That’s unfortunate. Shouldn’t future issues and subscriptions just be in app purchases?

dmuzzy

@Bosco - do you have any links to posts discussing what/how they are integrating InDesign with the iPad app design process?  I took a look at the link in your post but I couldn’t see any specifics on the Facebook page it took me to.

I only ask because I am a heavy InDesign user and am interested in how they are utilizing their page layout program for “interactive” content.

Thanks.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@dmuzzy, There was some discussion of it today on the “I’m with Adobe” Facebook group. This should be a better link. Lynn Grillo works for Adobe and is close to the project. It’s “skunkworks” that should see the light of day soon. That was her message.

There are a lot of smart people working overtime to make sure that Steve Jobs looks like a fool for calling out Adobe like he did. I’d suggest to all of you who are “Apple fans” to keep your eyes on what Adobe is doing. They’re beyond double-plus pissed. They’re focussed.

Nemo

Apparently, Wired was able to rewrite its apps, which was originally done using Flash, in Objective-C to comply with Apple’s new Section 3.3.1, without the loss of any of the features of the Flash version.  So those who argued that you couldn’t write rich, interactive content using the tools prescribed by Section 3.3.1 are proved wrong, at least with respect to the Wired app.  See http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/05/26/wireds_ipad_edition_arrives_converted_from_flash_by_adobe.html. And Adobe can, taking Jobs’ invitation, use open standards to create apps for the iPhone OS.

So what’s Adobe or any developer’s gripe?  That developing for the iPhone OS requires open standards which will cost Adobe some profits by forcing it to compete, and that developers will have to do some more work to learn and switch to open standard, if they are to develop for Apple’s mobile devices.  So what.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Nemo, as pointed out by an Adobe employee close to the project on links I provided, the Apple Insider article wasn’t exactly correct on the technical details. This obviously wasn’t done at zero cost. It was done rapidly by Adobe to adjust to a curve ball thrown by Apple.

In the future, when Adobe reveals how this publishing platform works, look for Apple to be in a tight spot vis a vis enforcing 3.3.1. This is essentially the same kind of publishing platform as AIR. The magazine “developers” will write no code and have an app spit out every month. It presents the same (made up) “problems” that Jobs railed against in his note on Flash. Magazine publishers will be able to deliver beautiful digital versions on the desktop platforms and the other tablets. If Apple says they can’t deliver apps this way, it will be all out war between Apple and the media.

What Adobe did here was incredibly smart. Apple has an indefensible position because it’s based on bullshit and lies. Expose the media to the bullshit and lies first hand, and they won’t be kind to Apple.

jecrawford

@Bosco

I’m getting a bit tired of your missionary zeal and unnecessarily extreme language.

Relaxez-vous!

This is just healthy competition playing itself out. Why don’t you stop banging your drum, sit back, and see what the outcome is?

John

dmuzzy

Thanks for the link Bosco.

I’m really of two minds about the whole thing.

I remember watching Adobe neglect the feature parity of their products on the Mac side for a very long time. Giving more the Microsoft side while ignoring the customers that made them into the powerhouse they were.

On the other hand, I don’t think that Apple’s seemingly antagonistic approach is healthy either.

If the 50 yard line is complete cooperation, for years Adobe has been on the 40, forcing Apple to come across the middle to meet Adobe. Now Apple has pulled back to their own 40 yard line. The users are sitting on the 50 waiting for them to get their acts together.

That being said, I think that the “write once, port many” approach only results in mediocrity. Be it print/web content, video game platforms, 2D/3D movies; the results always seem to be less than they could/should have been.

just my 2 cents.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

That being said, I think that the ?write once, port many? approach only results in mediocrity. Be it print/web content, video game platforms, 2D/3D movies; the results always seem to be less than they could/should have been.

Not having it would result in winner-take-all platform markets, i.e. the absolute death of the Mac in the late 1990s. Ultimately, users buy into platforms for the real world problems they solve for users. Those problems have typically been solved by third party developers, because they are too numerous, varied, and obscure for a platform vendor to solve all of them.

Besides what seem like “obvious” downsides to multi-platform development (of apps, content, etc.), there are many not-so-obvious to end-users benefits. I currently write apps that run on Mac and Windows (and portions Linux). There isn’t a month that goes by that some obscure problem I’m having on the Mac build is easily revealed and fixed because of the Windows build, or vice versa. Both Mac and Windows end users benefit from stability when I can find and fix such problems cheaply.

dmuzzy

Bosco, I completely agree that an all-or-nothing approach is bad for consumers both short and long run. My concern is that many developers don’t take the extra time to make a ported application work properly within the context of the intended medium.

For example, I loved playing Morrowind on the XBox. However, it was very evident that the game was designed for the PC and ported over to the XBox. It was done without much more work than it took to make it functional. The results weren’t bad, but not excellent either. In a word it was mediocre.

Granted some vendors do take the time to Port, then Polish their work. And it is because of those situations I think that Apple needs to willing to meet in the middle. And I think they eventually will; but I do think that developers (heck, people in general) need to be willing to step up and deliver quality that the situation requires.

Of course, market forces will take care of most of the bad offerings, but still, the good-enough attitude these days can be very disheartening.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Of course, market forces will take care of most of the bad offerings, but still, the good-enough attitude these days can be very disheartening.

Market forces might or might not take care of them the way any of us would prefer. Many here lament that cross-platform apps often don’t feel like native apps or do quirky things exactly the way that platform purists expect. And yet, in “straddler” markets, such as schools and even people who use Windows and work and Mac at home, the users tend to want absolute parity. A common question I get from straddlers is where “Preferences” is on Windows (“Edit” menu) since there is no application menu. Seriously.

So you end up with two design goals that are fundamentally irreconcilable. As a developer, you gotta go where the money is. Straddler customers tend to outnumber the purists. Their money certainly does.

Nemo

Bosco:  I looked at your link, and nothing it says disputes that what Wired and Adobe did doesn’t fully comply with the current Section 3.3.1.  Quoting from your link:  “I’m with Adobe: Good news for publishers. Adobe has managed to get original Flash content onto an approved app for iPhad.”  That quote doesn’t say that Adobe’s method of developing the Wired app violates Section 3.3.1.  It only says that what was original Flash content is now content that is on the iPad.  That statement does not support your leap that an Adobe translator, if it was a translator, violated Section 3.3.1 in construction of the Wired app.  As I have suggested, Section 3.3.1 does not prohibit third party tools that comply with its requirements, which is exactly what Adobe’s tools for the Wired app almost certainly do, or the Wired app wouldn’t be in the App Store. 

I think that anyone who knows Steve Jobs or who has seen the record of his resolve, once he takes a decision, couldn’t reasonable doubt that the Wired App would not be in the App Store, if it didn’t comply with Section 3.3.1.  In addition, no one disputes that the Wired App was written in Objective-C, which AIR, I believe, did not support. Therefore, there won’t be any need for Apple, Inc. to be in hot water in the future for enforcing Section 3.3.1, because it already is enforcing Section 3.3.1.

However, you are right about one thing, using the tools as Section 3.3.1 prescribes will allow developers to make amazing apps.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Nemo, Perhaps if you looked closely at the comments by Lynn Grillo and you know the difference between InDesign and Objective-C, you could deduce that the resulting app probably doesn’t exactly comply with the letter of 3.3.1. But you could also conclude that it’s not Flash-based.

But all that aside… The letter of 3.3.1 is not terribly important. Blocking Flash was the important thing for Apple. What this tool Adobe made will end up being is a cross-platform content deployment tool that (a) is not Flash and (b) does not require any hands on Objective C programming. I’d also wager that it won’t even involve Objective-C as intermediate step. That would be against the letter of 3.3.1 anyway.

BTW, in the comments, Lynn specifically said that the app is done in InDesign and then a tool turns it into an iPad App (and hints, in the future, other apps for other platforms).

All in all, it’s an exercise in wasted time. Today, NBC and Time Warner told Apple to pound sand on the Flash ban. By the end of summer, Apple will have to accept Flash in order to deal with established publihers who don’t want to spend more money to get less out of their content for one platform. And then Apple will be in a tough spot explaining why Flash/AIR is OK for magazines and not OK for other apps.

Nemo

Bosco:  It has been my opinion from the beginning that current Section 3.3.1 for iPhone OS 4.0 permits cross platform tools, provided that they comply with the prescribed standards, so that Adobe might have used a cross platform tool isn’t, in my view, a violation of Section 3.3.1.  Indeed, in this “Thoughts On Flash,” Steve Jobs strongly hinted that is the case:  “New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.”  Steve Jobs’ “Thoughts On Flash.”

After reviewing Mr. Grillo’s comments again, he says nothing but that there is some new technology that has been released to the public.  However, when it is released my bet is that it will either comply with Section 3.3.1, or Wired’s app will out of the App Store.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Facebook doesn’t provide links to individual comments. The first comment of my second link reads as follows:

The writer from AppleInsider doesn’t have it quite right. The WIRED magazine is not converted from Flash. It’s created in InDesign CS5 using new technology that has not yet been released to the public (but stay tuned…) I know you’ll like that, Sandee!

Nemo, believe what you want to believe. When the entire process is revealed to InDesign users, it will certainly violate the letter of 3.3.1 and some of the conjured up spirit (which precludes “business card” template apps). But that won’t matter to Apple because it’s not Flash, and 3.3.1 was never about standards or open or anything other than keeping 1 million Flash developers from flooding the App Store with great apps which cost much less to develop and which iPhone users would absolutely love.

As NBC and Time Warner have said, Flash is very good container for big media because it is near ubiquitous and has already solved the monetization problem. The fight against Apple stupidity is just starting.

Nemo

Bosco:  Unlike you, I have never been able to see the future, so I will just wait to see what Adobe reveals. 

As for your view of Apple’s motives, your are entitled to your opinion.  As the late Senator Moynihan often said:  Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but no one is entitled to his own facts.  And on the facts, there is more than enough to show that Apple’s desire for open standards is genuine and just.  Open standards for the iPhone OS’s development tools increases the likelihood of superior apps; they prevent any maker of tools from establishing himself/itself as the gatekeeper that can block innovation in tools and/or on an operating system; ensures that competition will promote better tools and better apps; and prevent any developer of tools from becoming a gatekeeper that can charge a monopoly rent to use its tools by promoting competition in the market for tools.  And specifically with Flash, it should be replaced, because it degrades performance and excessively drains the battery on all devices but particularly handheld devices, where such impacts on performance are intolerable.  See http://pocketnow.com/software-1/round-2-android-22-froyo-web-browser-speed-test-and-comparison (Note that these results are on the latest and greatest Android phone, running Froyo).  Those facts are more than sufficient to give any business leader morally and legally valid reasons for prohibiting Flash and Translators on its platform, and they more than outweigh the reasonable additional expense that developers may have to bear in having to learn open standards and to convert their apps to open standards, especially when you consider that they will thereby avoid the Adobe’s royalty for its tools.

As for the New York Post story, if it is accurate, Time Warner and NBC will take their decisions and bear the consequences.  Right now that means that they won’t have access to the iPad well more than a million users and will have to wait and hope that the vaporware challengers to the iPad will do better than the failed challengers to the iPod.  Certainly, other media companies concur with Apple, Inc.  For example, the BBC, CBS, and ABC, along with most major newspaper, and, of course, Wired.

Finally, if I have to chose whether to join Apple’s opposition to Flash and Translators for the reasons, supra, or support Adobe’s greedy desire to extend it monopoly of Flash tools to handhelds, my training and instincts, as an economist and a lawyer, for competition, free markets, fair play, and the superior innovation that free markets and competition, ceteris paribus, produce incline me toward Apple’s position.  And that is where I stand.

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