November 16, 2015 Last Updated 8:35 am

Mag+ unveils pre-launch version of Semble, a mobile app solution that doesn’t require InDesign

The Mac OS tool, along with the previewer app, are free of charge to download and use, with monthly charges only applied when the developer is ready to launch their app

The digital publishing platform Mag+ today unveiled a new mobile app solution it is calling Semble. The Mac software also has a new previewer app, also called Semble, that was released today into the Apple App Store.

To differentiate the new mobile app solution from the original Mag+ platform used to create digital edition, the company has rebranded the InDesign plug-in solution as Designd.


Unlike the original Mag+ solution, Mag+ Designd, this new Mac OS tool does not require the user have an InDesign license, something that many companies outside the world of publishing might not have.

The user drops and drags elements onto the canvas, called the Playground, just as someone would when creating a Keynote presentation. In fact, anyone familiar with common Mac OS applications such as Keynote, Pages, or even iBooks Author, will immediately feel comfortable with the navigation and tools.

“We’ve been working hard the past year and a half to create this new tool,” Mag+ CEO Staffan Ekholm told TNM last week.

“While media has been a tough target group for us for media related reasons, we found our new target groups elsewhere. Our new customers come from the non-media sectors, just regular enterprises doing apps for everything like reports, sales materials product guides, everything.”

To make app creation easier, Mag+ Semble comes with some pre-made templates. Content inside the app can be updated using external sources such as RSS or HTML, so while the solution may not have been created with publishers in mind, it is easy to see where publishers could find the new mobile app solution quite useful. For now, though, Mag+ mentions blogs, events, newsletters and brands as the obvious target for the new app solution.

Semble-instructionsLike Mag+ Designd, those who want to play around with Mag+ Semble can do so free of charge by visiting the company’s website and downloading the Mac program. Then the app, when first opened, will ask you to either log into a pre-existing Mag+ account, or create a new one.

Right now Mag+ has set the cost to launch an app at $39.99 per month for the license.

As mentioned above, there is a previewer app. The user opens that app on their mobile device – iPhone or iPad – and connects it to their Mac. Then they open the Mac app and hits “Send” to be able to preview their a new app on their mobile device.

While the original Mag+ digital publishing solution launched for the iPad first, then added iPhone support, Mag + Semble feels really geared towards smartphones, though the apps work on the iPad, as well.

The new stand-alone product obviously came out of conversations with the companies Mag+ has been talking to outside of publishing.

“We talked to hundreds people these past years who talked about their needs that we couldn’t address with our existing product,” Ekholm said. “We want to put something out there and see what people do with it.”

So, Semble has been made available as a pre-launch so that the company can get feedback on what new features should be made available, what improvements can be made before an eventual full commercial launch in the first quarter of next year.

  • tablazines 11 months ago

    i’m going to have to try this

  • Tablazines 11 months ago

    Can you do magazine apps with multiple issues with this as well?

    • D.B. Hebbard 11 months ago

      No, this produces something closer to a news app, rather than a digital edition. Content can be continuously updated if you use RSS, but it is not designed for multiple issues.

      On the other hand, I could envision changes to the solution to make a bit more like the new Adobe Digital Publishing Solution. The new DPS does allow for “issues” though many don’t use it this way.