Thursday, October 28, 2010

Will Magazine Reading Be More Social?

Exact Editions is running a public poll to find out how we think that magazines will be read in ten years time. If you haven't yet voted on the issue, please do so.

The sample voting is still small, but I am not surprised that the leading candidate in this race is:

The tablet (something like the iPad)

This is beating 'print on paper delivered via physical distribution'. A bit lower down the list is the option for genuine 'don't knows': ' a device or medium unlike any of the others in this list '.

While I am not surprised that the iPad (or something like it) is the most favoured choice for our most preferred magazine reading medium for 2020, I would have been very much surprised if you had told me 18 months ago that this tablet-type solution would now seem to be the most promising future vehicle for magazines. The iPad is astonishingly successful, but it is only 7 months old. The way that a magazine app should work on the iPad is still very much up for grabs. The way that users will want to use digital magazines is not a settled issue. There is a lot to be done! There are strategic choices to be made!

Exact Editions is running this poll as travaux preparatoires for a round-table forum that we are hosting for movers and shakers in the magazine/technology space in London, on 1 December. One of the key themes for discussion on that day will be 'iPads and other tablets', but another theme, the fifth and last that we have listed for the round-table is 'the social graph'. We are pondering the relevance of the social graph to the shifting technical base of the magazine industry as it goes digital: Few magazines/newspapers have really tapped the social graph (yet). Are Facebook and Twitter the real new frontier for digital publications? Although the social graph and the social context of digital magazines is not yet the top item on most digital magazine executives 'worry list' I cannot help but wonder whether the issue of magazine format and delivery is intimately bound up with the question of how magazines can be most easily integrated into the social graph. If the tablet, an iPad or its equivalent, becomes the primary way in which we interact with our closest, but absent, friends and our wider web acquaintance, then the magazine publishers who are now gearing their publications for tabletisation or iPad delivery will have made a prescient move.

The iPad is a surprisingly social device, more so than a notebook computer or a mobile phone. I do not think that it is just the novelty element in the iPad that makes me much more willing to pass mine around -- much more willing to pass it around than to pass around my mobile phone. The momentary, or episodic, lendability of the iPad may have something to do with its 'touchability' which is itself of social value in a small group, and magazine publishers will be reassured to know that this 'physical lendability' is very limited. Sharing a magazine subscription via the same iPad is feasible for mother and daughter, or husband and wife, but not really practical amongst a wider group of friends.

Friday, October 22, 2010

How Will We Read Magazines?

We are running an on-line poll on the way that magazines are to be read 10 years from now.

If this is an issue on which you have views, go and cast your vote. Remember we are not asking how magazines will be read next year, or in 2012, but in 2020! These are the choices:

  • In print on paper delivered via physical distribution
  • In print on paper delivered by home printer device
  • On a tablet (something like the iPad)
  • On an e-ink device (something like the Kindle but with colour)
  • On a mobile phone (something like the iPhone/Blackberry)
  • From an image projected to a surface by a mobile phone (or something like that)
  • On a personal computer (the equivalent of today's PC or Notebook)
  • On a TV-type of home entertainment system
  • On silicon brain inplants
  • On heads-up interactive goggles
  • On a device or medium unlike any of the others in this list

Oh yes, there is an incentive for completing the poll: you will be able to see how the votes of others have been cast (totals only -- this is an anonymous poll), and you will be able to come back in and check the results again later. But we will also blog about the result here next week.

One reason we decided to construct this poll: at Exact Editions we are running a round-table discussion for 50/60 leaders and key decision-takers in the magazine business, the round-table to be held at The British Library, on December 1st. The focus of the discussion is very much on the promise and potential from current digital technologies (our theme is "Bringing it all together: iPads, Online and Magazines in print"), and in preparing our themes and thoughts for this event we thought it would be useful to consult the wisdom of crowds on the imponderables and the various sea changes which confront the industry.

Although it is very hard to be right about this kind of issue, it is of fundamental importance to the industry and its decision takers. Which is one reason why the magazine business has shown so much interest in the potential and performance of the iPad as a magazine reading device.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Universal Subscriptions

Exact Editions has always worked to help publishers offer digital editions to existing print subscribers. Our first contract made provision for what we called 'Combined Subscriptions' a route whereby a publisher could add the digital sub for any of his print subscribers. In practice, this never worked too well (uptake was slight in most cases). For quite a few reasons:

  1. Our web service is designed to handle annual subs (ie 12 months) and it was very difficult to build in more flexible alternatives without confusing the customer experience in the e-store. Many consumer magazines rely on quarterly subscriptions that are renewed 'automatically' via direct debits from the customer's bank.
  2. Most consumer magazine publishers (back in the day) felt that they ought to charge a premium for providing print+digital subscriptions. And this has NEVER worked -- basically because consumers do not see why they should be paying a premium for buying the magazine twice .... To the consumer it seems obvious that the subscription is for 'one thing', the magazine in two different forms, no way would a rational agent pay twice for the same thing. To the publisher it seems obvious that the 'consumer' ought to be paying more for getting a better service. I do not know who is right, morally, in this dispute. In practice, however, the consumer is right. The consumer is always right, and purchasers will not pay for what we used to call 'combined subscriptions'.
  3. We used to call them that, but we now call them 'universal subscriptions'. This is a term that we picked up yesterday from Colin Crawford. And 'universal' is clearly a better term, because 'combined subscriptions' sounds ugly and complicated. 'Universal subscription' connotes a simpler, a more open-ended and a more comprehensive solution to which existing print subscribers, the lifeblood of most magazines, deserve full access. But the Exact Editions service is more universal than 'combined' because it allows a publisher to offer the print subscribers, access through the web, through the iPhone, and the iPad. One might expect also to add Android access to that range of universal access.
  4. The 'universal subscription' proposition is clearly better for the consumer than the prospect of paying extra for access to a digital or an iPad edition, but it is really much better also for the publisher, because the publisher or his distribution arm maintains control of the subscriber list. We can only guarantee to provide publishers with a reliable universal service if the Exact Editions platform can verify subscription status in real time. The big consumer publishers who have been nagging Apple with the demand that they have access to customer data have been pushing at the wrong door. Much better to retain control of the customer data on their own side, and then enable suitably qualified users of Apple iOS devices (ie existing subscribers) to access the accounts which are maintained at the publisher end. Some shrewd newspaper publishers are already using this approach (WSJ, Financial Times).
There is one odd thing about the evolution of the Exact Editions service towards supporting publishers with the provision of 'universal subscriptions': it was the arrival of the iPad which made this all seem like the right way to go. The advent of iPad apps and the need to provide existing subscribers with access to iPad apps for their own magazine subscriptions has been the catalyst which is encouraging many publishers also to provide access to web-based digital magazines. The iPad is in some ways a disruptive and innovative move towards a new idea of the digital magazine, but its introduction has helped publishers and consumers to realise that there is value in the simple proposition of a digital edition of the existing print publication.

Nicholas Negroponte: Books will be Gone by 2015

Nicholas Negroponte, interviewed on CNN, makes the bold claim that (physical) books will be gone by 2015. I am supposing that he means more precisely that at some point in the near future, books will be more read and browsed as digital resources than as print on paper objects. To sharpen up the prediction, in which year will we see the switch over point, when more books are read on a digital medium than in Gutenberg-style print on paper? Will the big switch-over from physical books to digital books take place in:

2014 Negroponte is being cautious
2015 Negroponte is spot on
2022 Hard to see this far out
Later Negroponte is talking through his hat!

To take part in this poll go here (Condorcet Internet Voting Service). Results and some comments will be posted on this blog at a later date.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

SXSWorld Magazine as a Free App

SXSW World is the second magazine to use the Exact Editions iPhone/iPad app platform for free distribution. Dazed & Confused was the first.

SXSW World, as you have probably guessed, is the magazine from the organizers of the wildly successful music/film/technology/culture fest held each spring in San Antonio, Texas. With an iPad or an iPhone you can now read this quarterly magazine for free. In this blog we are going to use it to pin-point the basic controls that are to be found on all the Exact Editions apps, but if you have an iPad we strongly recommend that you go and pick the app up and play with it yourself. Try all the orientations, all five free issues, and all the functions on the app's toolbars. Any written or verbal explanation is a poor substitute for the experience of driving the app yourself. But, as second best, we provide some screenshots with explanation:

The Front Cover. Note each of the page numbers on the cover have a green spot, and a click on the highlighted number takes the reader straight to the referenced page. Note also the tool bars at the top and bottom of the window. These tool bars (which disappear after a few moments, but can be recalled by touching the screen) carry the main navigation controls. The Exact Editions apps are designed to give all available space to page images of the magazines and books carried, but the user will soon find out that all the software controls for the app are readily available in the unobtrusive tool bars. Starting at the bottom left:

This triple-decker sandwich icon, is in fact a table of contents icon, it takes the reader to the main table of contents in the magazine (or book), as here:

Again, we draw attention to the interactive links highlighted in green on the digital table of contents page (zip codes, email addresses, urls, as well as page numbers are highlighted). The iPhone, since it is a phone, will also present the phone numbers as highlighted for click-to-call. The grouping of three icons at the middle of the tool bar at the bottom of the window are for moving through pages.

Naturally the arrows are for moving right or left, and the left arrow is 'greyed out' in this snap because we are at the front cover of the magazine. Sorry there is no way that you can go left here! The open book, or concertina, icon in the middle is perhaps the most powerful of the navigational tools in the set we offer. It opens up a quick browse view of the magazine, which we call 'PageFlow', which is in some ways similar to the iTunes 'Coverflow', but rather more 'page-y', since it shows pages in recto and verso views as you move through the publication (naturally, by sliding your finger over the stream of pages).

PageFlow is so blisteringly fast on the iPad that this soon becomes a very valuable way of controlling and navigating the magazine as a virtual object. The slider bar with its bead (to be picked up and slid along the bar) is streaming through the same underlying PageFlow, but even more quickly, and this is especially useful for really large volumes.

The thumbnails used for PageFlow are small, but with an illustrated magazine they contain sufficient information to be highly useful, especially for finding again pages that you may already have browsed.When you have slid to the right part of the magazine, two pages will be open in the 'valley' of the page images. You tap the left hand page, to go to the left hand of the opening, tapping on the right hand page takes you to the other one. If your sliding navigation has 'overshot' the mark you can touch any of the other visible pages in the sequence to go direct to that page. Seven pages on each side of the opening are immediately available. As it happens we want this page:

This image can be expanded (spreading fingers) to a higher resolution:

I am not sure that we need to see Matthew Vaughn in higher resolution than that!

The last icon on the bottom tool bar is to alternate between double page and single page views.

Which takes you to the double page spread:

We have only covered the controls that are available from the bottom tool-bar. Next time we shall cover the set of controls that come at the top of the page.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The iPad is Magical but it is not a Mystery

Dan Bricklin has an excellent blog post about the extraordinary but hard-to-define magic of the iPad. It is one of those rare blog postings that one would like to offer to every one who thinks about the way apps are working on the iPad and what the iPad can do for publishers and readers. Here is a chunk of Bricklin-wisdom:

The way I see it, what makes the iPad magical is that with it we are the magician. The iPad is our own specially marked desk of cards. We now have power to easily and confidently control things that we previously did not. It is a very empowering tool.

With the iPad, we are the masterful magician, not the audience watching in awe.

Why is this so? Isn't the iPad just a big iPod touch?

As I pointed out in my first iPad essay, the iPad gives us more screen space than a pocket device like an iPhone to expose control points and to make the operation of those controls clear and easily accessible with fingers. The iPhone-size screens have room for mainly one major UI-control cluster plus a small toolbar or two -- when the keyboard is up there isn't room for almost anything other than a small view into what you are entering with little context. The iPad does not have such severe limitations, having room for many controls and explanatory information. You can sit back in your seat (like Steve Jobs at the announcement) and comfortably control the device, unlike an iPhone where you pull it to your face and squint to see the controls (especially if you are over 40 like I am).

The use of touch and the application of the capabilities of the graphics processor to give the illusion of smooth flowing, directly manipulated operations enhances the feeling of control. The larger screen in a still-portable flat form factor makes it comfortable for multiple individuals to watch as any one of them controls changes -- public magic, not private exploration. The wireless connectivity quickly brings requested data in on demand. The large screen has enough room to give you context and depth of information from that data. Is the Apple iPad really "magical"?

This is helpful and enlightening because much of the magic in the iPad is a result of its simplicity and the way in which its form factor (mid-size, touchability and screen resolution) encourage a direct and human relationship between the object as instrument or display, and the reading or viewing subject as mover and navigator. The success and the magic of the iPad is both subtle and simple, but it is not a mystery, because the way it works is very simple but with a high degree of user control and involvement. Bricklin goes on to note that the iBooks app is only 'so so' in the magic stakes.

Likewise, I've found some other reading applications, like magazines, that look really nice, and seem to give you control, but that fail to deliver enough when you try reading and perusing the publication -- you feel hampered and long for bound paper that you can skim through and with which you can easily flip back and forth with the right feel. As they say, "God is in the details" -- details of implementation are important and can distinguish the winners from the losers.

To me, a computer is a tool. You use tools to get things done. In the case of the iPad, you can use it to read, to write, to watch, to search, to communicate, to play, and more. The challenge in app design is to give the user a feeling of appropriate and comfortable control.
Bricklin does not say this, but I think that many of the newly re-designed magazine apps have been making a grave mistake by supposing that users (or shall we call them 'readers') want something very different from the print magazine that they already know. Most subscribers and readers like the magazine that they subscribe to or read because it is the way it is. For a loyal reader of The Spectator, or The Wire, the digital edition of the magazine, whether on the iPad or on Android, or the web, has to be recognizably the magazine to which the customer is a loyal subscriber. Of course things will change, and they should change, when the magazine becomes digital. But breaking the mould, and starting again, is a mistake because offering readers a new 'matrix' organisation for the magazine framework that they already know is really taking control away from the reader. We know the way a magazine works and we understand that it can be quickly flipped through with sideways skimming. Asking or expecting the reader to navigate with new radically new conventions is likely to puzzle and distract. Similar thoughts apply to multi-media. It is great, indeed magical, that magazines can now incorporate sound and video in their digital manifestations. But magazines are not TV programmes or chat shows. After a bout of early enthusiasm and exuberance, I suspect that magazine publishers and editors are learning that video and hypermedia devices should be used sparingly and subtly in iPad editions. As Dan Bricklin puts it "The challenge in app design is to give the user a feeling of appropriate and comfortable control." You don't do that by ignoring all the subtleties and 'affordances' in the wonderful print objects which are the starting point for creating magical, digital, magazine apps.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Do you Design for the Device or for a Virtual Page?

We are hearing reports of what may be the first significant competitor for Apple's iPad: the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Here are some comparative notes from Tim Bray (who is likely to be pre-disposed for an Android tablet and against Apple's iPad), and here is a brief overview of a Tab being put through its paces at a Trade Show by Noah from PhoneDog.

I do not know whether the Galaxy Tab is good enough to provide significant competition to the iPad, but the signs are that there will soon be a 'good enough' Android competitor for the iPad. One interesting point: it looks as though the seven inch form factor may be a significant point in favour of the Tab. Plenty of people find the iPad a bit too hefty, a bit too big. This is an area where Apple will face competition, choosing a different form factor (size and aspect ratios) is a good way of differentiating a rival product. There will be plenty of different form factors: 5", 7", 9", 11" etc.... From what we know of hardware markets and mobile opportunities such differentiation is inevitable.

What message should this be carrying to magazine and book publishers? The obvious message is simple, physical and ergonomic: your consumers will next year be carrying and unpacking devices with very different form factors and screen sizes. If you want your product/service to be readable and useful you absolutely have to factor this in to the information architecture of your magazine, or book. To redesign your magazine for each and every new form factor..... that way lies madness.

As luck would have it, I have this weekend been playing with another creditable 'home-produced' magazine app for the iPad: Esquire's new app. The result is a pretty decent magazine-like experience on the iPad with a degree of interactivity and playfulness. But it is very much of a one-off solution. It will be interesting to see whether Esquire persists in offering such an issue by issue app; an implementation which has a substantial overhead in terms of design and creative input, over and above the production and design of the print magazine. Furthermore the designers have so clearly tied their app to the iPad platform that they would need to engage in comparable investments to deliver interactive versions for the 5", 7", 11", and 12.5" platforms that will be hitting the market next year. The Esquire app, although it is designed for the iPad paradoxically shies away from even this target by being implemented purely for the portrait mode of presentation. The app doesnt swing when you swivel! To most iPad users that is going to feel very wrong.

So here is a number one rule for magazine designers: when you are planning digital implementations think about virtual pages, not about actual pages or specific aspect ratios. That way you have a chance that your precious investment in an iPad app will be adaptable to the next screen size that emerges in the Apple range, never mind Samsung, HP-Palm, or Dell. And if Samsung have hit on a good form factor, there will probably be a new format from Apple soon!

Friday, October 01, 2010

The New Yorker App: Fabulous but Flawed

One of the best magazines of all time and the acme of American style, The New Yorker, this week they launched an iPad app, and it is in some respects a brilliant effort. There are some very strong aspects:

  1. A sensational front cover by David Hockney, painted on the iPad with Brushes and with a second interactive page where you can see the way he painted it (brush strokes re-played). One might say that this is a very simple idea and a very straightforward implementation. But it is nevertheless brilliant. This will be copied many times by iPad magazine covers and digital magazine art; but perhaps never bettered.
  2. There is a funny commercial for their new app by Jason Schwartzman (directed by Roman Coppola) and you can see Jason taking a shower with his iPad here.
  3. The visuals in the app are mostly fabulous (we have a bevy of design quibbles, but this is very much a first effort and the designers have taken some risks) and the quality of much of the design of the magazine comes through brilliantly.
  4. Some of the ads are astonishingly strong, especially the small ads with links -- for example try the Swan Galleries ad with its links through to catalogues for current auctions which can all be viewed with great detail from within the app. This placement gives the right kind of information-dense ad incredible 'focus' and visibility.
  5. The cartoons are, as is to be expected, brilliant and can be viewed in place, scattered through the magazine, or together in a cartoon gallery.
We should aplaud a great first effort, and I continue to enjoy the magazine days after downloading it. The creative talent associated with The New Yorker is second to none. However, there are a few 'buts' which we notice in a spirit of friendly and constructive criticism.

First, the information design of the Condé Nast apps inherits a matrix-framework built for them by Adobe. The Wired apps were the first to show it, and it seems as though this duplicated portrait/landscape rendering of a magazine layout could become a standard Adobe packaging technique. The app produced in this way is rather 'portly' (though much smaller than the Wired apps) and it seems that The New Yorker has some reservations about the approach. We saw the Deputy Editor, Pam McCarthy, noting for All Things Digital, that the Adobe method of scrolling a long story doesn't work, “It’s pretty clear that when you have a 10,000-word story, smooth scrolling [in the vertical] is not a good option,” she says. For me, the Adobe technique of hanging each story as though they were page proofs draped on a 'washing line' through which users can navigate the magazine as a matrix, is not a good option either. Furthermore I am sure that Adobe will have to change their model of what a digital magazine is, because representing and designing a magazine in two different orientations creates more work for designers and, much worse, it creates unnecessary work for digital readers who have to learn about two slightly different digital representations of the magazine both variant in important respects from the magazine as it has been loved and learned in print. Finally, in precisely targeting the screen size and functionality of the iPad (the app is not at all available for the iPhone) Adobe seem to have created an endless design treadmill for their magazine customers who may have to produce subtly different solutions for each tablet platform. The only practical way to solve this looming problem (there will soon be many tablet formats and Android will not help by having variant app standards) is to treat the print magazine as a virtual book (if you insist a 'page turning' object) and then build interactivity on top of the virtual book. In that way a scaleable and generative solution can be delivered for a large range of reader devices. You will find more precise questions about the design solutions chosen for the app at MagCulture, but this fundamental issue of order, predictability and information architecture is the basic flaw in the Adobe method.

The second reservation, is that Condé Nast seem to be stuck in a publisher stand-off with Apple their necessary distribution partner for the iPad (no one can get an app on to the iPad without Apple approval!). Condé Nast President Bob Sauerberg as quoted by the Wall Street Journal:

"It is important to the New Yorker that we have offerings that allow long-term relationships with the consumers. Obviously, we don't have that in place for the moment with Apple. We are very keen to do that." WSJ, September 26
The astonishing thing about this comment is that Condé Nast already has a broad and a deep connection with its long-term consumers (the last time I looked it had just over 1 million of them), and it could easily enable them to access the iPad app if it adopted the strategy which the Wall Street Journal itself adopts of giving free iPad access to print and existing digital subscribers. There is no need to ask Apple's permission to do this. If Conde Nast does not switch on its loyal print subscribers -- which is perfectly within the constraints of the iTunes/Apple proposition -- it is very rich to complain about Apple not allowing the company to connect with its readers. When Sauerberg was promoted he noted
"We want our readers to engage with our brands in a variety of ways, and we feel our success will be based on being able to provide our content seamlessly across every appropriate platform that exists now and in the future. We want to take that engagement and continue to try to increase it and revalue the consumer proposition. We want to do that with our magazines and our websites and our digital applications." (Folio Magazine -- Transcending Print Q&A with Bob Sauerberg)
Fine words and correct. But where is the follow through? The iPad could be a seamless bridge to the consumer's existing subscription (well a small hump of a bridge, almost, almost, seamless). The iPad actually gives Condé Nast a very straightforward way of serving existing print subscribers and were Condé Nast to do this, they would immediately have a much stronger digital connection with many of their readers and one which in the long and the short-term will serve them much better than a relationship mediated and controlled by Apple. To argue that Apple is not letting you connect to your subscribers when you do not connect the subscribers that you already have, and for which Apple will make no charge, is simply absurd.

Apple's Segmentation and Service Integration

There is a brilliant and highly perceptive article on Apple's strategy by Mark Sigal over at O'Reilly Radar. Read it all, but here is an excerpt:

In the real world of building products and attacking market opportunities, market segmentation is the process of defining and sub-dividing the aggregate, homogeneous market into addressable, targeted needs and aspirations buckets. Buckets that are in turn, thresholded by demographic, psychographic and/or budgetary constraints.

Market segmentation strategy enables a company to drive complete, unified product solutions that are harmonious with messaging, customer outreach, and channel strategies for selling and supporting customers.

In this regard, Apple's product strategy is a study in market segmentation. Versus merely trying to stuff a product, burrito-style, with as many different features as possible, they target specific user experiences, and build the product around that accordingly. Apple's segmentation strategy, and the folly of conventional wisdom

Mark points out that Apple has defined and addressed these market segments (or buckets) by delivering a range of devices which have differing but powerfully complementary and mutually attractive portability, wearability, pocketability modalities. Apple has brilliantly seen that in the age of mobile computing it is highly desirable to offer your users different styles and weights in which devices may be donned, doffed, cuddled, clutched or tethered; best not to have them 'lugged' or 'humped'. The way the devices look and the way they feel matters more if you are carrying them around. Their touchability, weight, balance, their reflectivity and colour -- all these are important with tools which are becoming almost a part of our wardrobe (or at least will often be taken out of our handbag). Style becomes an aspect of function when the objects are to be worn and carried. He also provides us with a helpful diagram of the range:


Mark Sigal goes on to point out that this segmentation is complemented by highly effective integration at the level of the OS (to a degree -- making us parenthetically wonder when will iOS 4 move out towards the desktop and down towards the Nano?) and most importantly, and more universally, through the e-commerce platform iTunes and the media layer. The media layer is universal; we should reflect on the defensive strength that gives the Apple product skeleton. We should reflect on the accretive potential that this breadth of cultural objects gives to the device constellation. Because there are many, many more, choices at the media level it is essential for the Apple eco-system that the individual choices of consumers are shared within their individual device grouping. The media layer is where the consumers individual choice reigns supreme and it is in this sense the most 'open', the most consumer-committing, and potentially one of the most profitable aspects of the differentiation strategy.
Further, when you see how Apple has used its vertical integration of the iPod media player and the iTunes marketplace across all of its devices to create a billing relationship with 160 million consumers vis-à-vis simplified discovery, purchase and distribution, it provides a window into how they've facilitated a market segmentation approach that is simultaneously harmonious and discrete. Apple's segmentation strategy, and the folly of conventional wisdom
Harmony is key, the range and mutually supporting quality of the Apple product segmentation is making it very difficult for competitors to mount an effective challenge to the iPad, and to an extent to the iPhone. And we notice that hardly anybody is trying to mount a competitive challenge to the iPod Touch which may be the most effective, defensive/aggressive, unit in the Apple line-up.

Life is difficult for the consumer electronics and device manufactures who compete with Apple, but following Mark Sigal's analysis what are the implications for media owners?

  1. The first point to understand is that Apple's strategy is broadly media friendly. Especially to media that wish to establish subscription services to Apple's large iTunes audience. The device manufacturer and the mobile network operator may be in direct competition with Apple, but the media producer should aim at a symbiotic relationship with the leading mobile media platform.
  2. Furthermore the Apple strategy is working and it needs to be followed. But notice that this does not mean that a media owner should aim at segmentation at the service level. Quite the opposite. Books, films, magazines, newspapers, TV shows should be sold as all-in inclusive services wherever possible. The media should flow between all the device options that confront the consumer and wherever a publisher can establish a direct relationship with a consumer, that relationship (a subscription) should be transferable to any other device or access solution that the consumer is wearing/lugging. Segmentation at the device level should be married to integration at the service layer.
  3. Apple is building its services on top of web solutions. Apple's universal media layer is driven by web services, as (See John Gruber on Apple and the Open Web where he points out that Apple is heavily invested in HTTP but not much in HTML). Follow that model. The web is fundamental to all media distribution, and it is at the level of web distribution that the media owner can hope to provide a fluid service for users who may be part in and part out of the iOS device network.
  4. There will be scores of new device options in the next two years. Apple's present lead in media delivery will be steadily encroached. Avoid the mistake of building solutions for devices (there will be 5", 7", 9", 11" and more screen sizes on tablets next year). Respect the integrity of your product and your service and deliver the same solution everywhere, as far as possible. The best solution may not be fully deliverable on some platforms, but make sure that the core offering is available there (even if some of the bells and whistles are missing).
  5. Consider, at every step in your relationship with Apple, that the consumer is king. Apple will not lightly grant access to consumer information and private data that the Apple devices may obtain, or that ill-mannered apps might obtain without the consent of users. Apple will not and should not pass on this private data and do not expect them to do so.