Since the iPad was announced over a year ago, one of the uses that seemed to be natural for it was that of a Magazine and Newspaper reader. Real life results, unfortunately have been mixed. Many magazines such as Wired, Popular Science and The Economist were on the iPad shortly after launch. Others such as Rupert Murdoch’s The Daily and Sir Richard Branson’s Project appeared with much fanfare but mixed reaction.
The main problems users report are that the magazine interfaces aren’t consistent from one magazine to another and these interfaces generally aren’t intuitive.
This is counter to what most users of Apple software – whether it’s OS X or iOS – are accustomed too. Apple has a rather large document for their developers; Apple Human Interface Guidelines. This document describes, in excruciating detail, how an Apple App should look and act.
These guidelines are built-in to Apple’s developer tools in the form of templates. That’s why Apps for OS X and iOS operate similarly from one to another and because of that, they’re reasonably intuitive for the user.
I’m hearing that Apple is developing a magazine template that will be in a future release of their developer environment and toolkit – Xcode.
This publishing template will create a familiar consistent user interface. It also will facilitate in-app purchases for subscriptions and back issues. Another benefit Apple anticipates is that there will be a plethora of new magazines on the iPad. They believe that anyone will be able to create a magazine relatively easily and have it published by Apple and sold through iTunes.
I’m told; “Imagine a guy drawing and writing a comic book. He can’t sell it to Marvel or DC so he hooks up with a programmer and within days, he’s getting his comic book published and sold on iTunes.”
Of course, a comic book is just one example. I could see all kinds of these “Garage Magazines” as I call them, being created. Undoubtedly, quality would vary widely.
Apple hopes to have this implemented by the end of the year.