October 15, 2014 Last Updated 2:48 pm

First look: Fires Bulletin, a new digital magazine launched into the Apple Newsstand for U.S. Artillery pros

Apple Newsstand app uses the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to produce a bi-monthly native tablet magazine

Tomorrow morning, Apple will hold its iPad event to introduce new models of both the iPad Air and iPad mini. The event, if you will recall, has moved up from its earlier spot in the year.

Fires-iPadIt has now been just over four and a half years since the tablet publishing platform was launched and, to be honest, things have gotten a little boring. Most new apps launched into the Apple Newsstand remain replica editions, sometimes coming from platform companies that seem to prefer to remain anonymous, only dealing with their publishing clients online. One company that I had never heard of before now has 23 apps appearing under their name, all PDF replicas. I would mention that company but since I needed to use the “Who Is” directory just to track down the owner it felt like something I should avoid – these new, anonymous companies launching new digital magazine apps can get pretty ornery when written about.

Four and a half years ago, before Apple even launched the Newsstand, almost any new app was worth looking at, and writing about. There was still a novelty to reading newspapers and magazines on tablets and the future looked pretty bright.

Things have changed. But many brands and institutions still are launching digital publications. And if Adobe MAX is any guide, they will only be picking up the pace.

One of the newest digital magazines launched into the Newsstand is from the unlikely source of the U.S. military – specifically, Fires Center of Excellence out of Fort Sill in Oklahoma. Fires Bulletin> is a native tablet magazine built using the Adobe DPS.

Like a number of early digital magazines, the designers chose to go with a landscape orientation. The choice makes it easy to use full page photography, but does make laying out stories with text a bit of a challenge. The magazine is free to access, and its cover makes sure to point out that the publication was cleared for public release.

The design in rudimentary, and one might have expected to have seen a PDF solution used to create the app. But the use of a native digital publishing platform allows not only for the use of landscape, but also other native tablet features such as scrolling within stories and swiping to go to the next, pop-up captions, and the like.

Like many new digital magazines, the issue itself lacks any staff box or identification of origins. I think this is something all publications should have, as well as a way to communicate with the editor.

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