Talk about jumping the gun just a little. Condé Nast, publishers of Wired and seventeen other magazines, are working on porting their nerdiest title to the iTablet. All Things Digital reports that the company intends to have this new version of Wired ready by the middle of next year.
No, before you ask, Condé Nast hasn't been privy to any insider meetings with Apple that have given them proof of the iTablet's existence. They admit openly that the company will not even admit that it has plans for such a device. Despite this, they're chugging along and working with Adobe to create a publishing tool for the new magazine reader format.
This new format runs on the AIR platform, which is compatible on just about everything but the iPhone. Could this be a sign that the iTablet, if it does exist, will run OS X after all? Or is this news only a sign that Adobe and Condé Nast haven't thought this through as deeply as they should have.
Even if the iTablet does prove to be vaporware, there are a ton of unreleased tablets that the magazine industry wants to get involved with. The development we're seeing now isn't only a result to the iTablet. Publishers know that a bunch of new tablets (like the Vega) are due out next year. They're hoping against hope that this gadget trend will become wildly popular and lead to the salvation of the print industry. Or at least the magazine industry.
Once again, Nast is being overly optimistic. They plan to charge readers by the title, and they think they can convince the Audit Bureau of Circulations that online sales are the same as newsstand sales, and thus are worth as many advertising dollars. In essence, they're betting that the one thing right now standing in the way of customers and Condé Nast magazines is the lack of a digital distribution method.
Quite frankly, I find that ludicrous. Customers aren't buying conventional magazines anymore because the web offers free content at a faster rate. 80% of customers say they won't pay for their online news. Why would they pay for Wired when they can read Ars Technica, Gizmodo, Boy Genius, and one or two other websites and get more info and reading material for free?
When the economy is good, you can justify a magazine subscription or two. When it's bad food, shelter, and other things you can't find for free on the Internet take priority.