The Sunday Times is bragging today that its iPad app has topped a chart rating design, functionality and use of multimedia. The chart, published by iMonitor, rated Story Magazin from Hungary and Viva HD second and third. The Washington Post and Pearson’s Intelligent Life came in at four and five.
Acclaim for the product may not, however, translate into sales – figures for which News International has not yet released. Wired Magazine sold 100,000 copies of its first iPad app, generating waves of interest among other magazine publishers. Richard Branson quickly unveiled ‘Project’ and News International let slip that it was planning an iPad newspaper, to be called ‘the Daily’ in the new year. Since then, however, according to The Financial Times ‘after an initial spurt of enthusiasm, sales (of paid for iPad publication apps) have been dropping’.
But it is probably too early to write off the iPad magazine market. Apple has already sold 7.5m iPads and some analists predict that tablet and e-reader sales could hit 50m this year. And most publishers appear to be feeling their way in the market somewhat uncertainly. Some change more for online publications for print editions, other load products with so many hard-to-download features that mobile consumers are likely to stick with print.
The iPad publication chart does pose a bigger question, however.
Apple has traditionally demanded high and expensive compliance standards of app developers – which probably explains the dominance of the iPad app market by major traditional publishers. Whether consumers will warm to a market where there is such a significant barrier to entry, after a decade of anyone-can-do-it internet publishing, remains to be seen.