May 6, 2015 Last Updated 10:28 am

Apple launches new microsite for iPad; first look at two new native digital magazines

New Apple Newsstand apps from Art Guide Australia – Magazine, which uses the Mag+ digital publishing platform, and The Periodic Journal, developed by Almond

The sales of the iPad are in the dumpster, but then again, so are most tablet sales as mobile buyers continue to purchase larger screened smartphones. It is Apple’s fault that iPad sales are declining or just the way the market is developing?

Apple-iPad-micrositeMy own opinion is that Apple has only itself to blame for falling iPad sales. The company is notorious for concentrating heavily in one particular area, and letting others languish. Take iBooks Author, a very popular eBook software solution. But users have been clamoring for iPhone support since day one, yet the app is still only on version 2.2.

Since its launch in April of 2010, the iPad has gotten thinner, it has received better inside hardware, it has had its software updated. It still is far too little storage for media consumption other than streaming, and now it is falling behind the Surface in its capabilities. The Surface! (Criminy, if Microsoft wasn’t as anti-media as Apple I might even buy a Surface and begin looking at Windows apps, but I can’t buy every tablet out there and the company seems to have gone out of its way to make sure I never have one at my disposal – a long story, but a true one.)

But if Apple wants, I think they could turn sales around for the iPad, though they will never be as robust as the iPhone, of course. Rumor is that they might launch a 12″ model at some point, and the rumors seem to be heating up. Will they launch a “Pro” version at WWDC? Doubtful, but maybe in the fall at its now traditional iPad event.

Today Apple launched a microsite to promote the iPad with the theme “Everything changes with iPad.” I like the theme because I think it is true, for the most part. The areas Apple are promoting are Cooking, Learnings, Small Business, Traveling, and Redecorating. I find the last one a little odd, but maybe they needed an even number and ran out of ideas. (Why not Books, or Magazines or something/anything to do with digital publishing, for God’s sake! Doesn’t anyone at Apple read?)

In the last three days I have had back-to-back conversations with digital publishers pretty depressed about the success of their digital magazines. The thought that others are in the same situation seemed to comfort them, to a degree, but each seemed resigned to ending their digital edition efforts.

artguide-aus-coverI think we will see more and more digital-only titles folding, but I don’t see an end to digital editions. There are just too many advantages to the platform, even if there are obvious disadvantages, as well (like the condition of the digital newsstands).

Two new Apple Newsstand apps are good examples of the fine work being done with digital editions.

Art Guide Australia – Magazine and appears under the Print Idea P/L developer account, the first app under that name.

The digital edition is designed to be read in portrait and I assume is a digital conversion of a print magazine (the dead giveaway is the advertising). The Apple Newsstand and digital edition was built using the Mag+ digital publishing platform.

The May-June issue is free inside the app, but the March/April issue costs $2.99, as will subsequent issues. An annual subscription is priced at $14.99.

Notice no monthly subscription price. I think that is a good idea. Publishers found, early on at least, that they could attract readers with monthly subscription. Keeping them, however has proven a challenge. Many magazine that at first launched offering a monthly subscription now regret the decision, what with Apple reminding them every month of the opportunity to cancel.

ThePeriodicJournal-ipadThe other new Newsstand app appears to be digital-only. The Periodic Journal comes from Auckland, and appears in the App Store under the Almond developer account. Almond is an independent digital studio that now has six Newsstand apps under its name.

The Periodic is a seasonally themed and released publication that celebrates locality – from makers, creators, products and people,” writes the publishing team in its introduction. That team is made up of designer Natasha Mead, photographer Greta van der Star and writer Yasmine Ganley.

The Periodic is planning to publish quarterly and is free to download and subscribe. To make this possible, the publishers listed several sponsors in the Credits to the magazine.

TNM has looked at a number of digital publications from Almond and Akm Studios, which I assume is the same pair of behind all the apps: Alex Murton and Monica Dam. The most recent was Mondays Journal (see TNM post here).

The Periodic, unlike Mondays Journal, is digitally native, and is enjoyable to read on both the iPhone and iPad.

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