Exact Editions Blog

For Librarians & Publishers


The Post-PC Digital Magazine

Steve Jobs got some attention last week with his claim that Apple, unlike most of their competitors, was now working mostly in a Post-PC world

I’ve said this before, but thought it was worth repeating: It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. That it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.

And nowhere is that more true than in these post-PC devices.

And a lot of folks in this tablet market are rushing in and they’re looking at this as the next PC. The hardware and the software are done by different companies. And they’re talking about speeds and feeds just like they did with PCs.

And our experience and every bone in our body says that that is not the right approach to this. That these are post-PC devices that need to be even easier to use than a PC. That need to be even more intuitive than a PC. And where the software and the hardware and the applications need to intertwine in an even more seamless way than they do on a PC.

And we think we’re on the right track with this. We think we have the right architecture not just in silicon, but in the organization to build these kinds of products. (Apple Event: March 2011)

The iPod, the iPhone and the iPad are all, in Jobs’s view, Post-PC Devices. Apple has a particular vision of a Post-PC computing environment, and at some stage it will be challenging to deconstruct the vision with which Apple is building its Post-PC system.

But right now, it would be worth asking ourselves a Post-PC digital magazine should behave.

  1. A Post-PC digital magazine should be immediately accessible to a reader who is familiar with the print magazine.
  2. If at all possible it should be ‘magically’ the same magazine, but in some indefinable ways better.
  3. If a Post-PC digital magazine subscriber has a subscription to the print magazine they should also be entitled to access their magazine subscription on the iPad (this is one of those magical properties). If Conde Nast really thinks that Pre-PC subscribers will be happy to pay additional prices for Post-PC issues of the same magazine, they are living in a universe where tablet PCs have styluses. Quite clearly out of touch.
  4. The Post-PC magazine should be better in some ‘definable’ ways also: it should be searchable; it should link to appropriate web resources (urls, email addresses, YouTube, iTunes etc); it should be browsable, bookmarkable, likable (in the Facebook sense) and Tweetable.
  5. A Post-PC digital magazine should be a publication in which some advertisers will want to advertise (but I am not sure that I see how Apple thinks that magazine advertising in digital magazines could work). Digital magazines should be good places to advertise because they will attract specific and definable audiences of committed consumers. So there needs to be a Post-PC way for those connections to work….

There is plenty of work to be done as we put digital magazines on the way to being completely “Post-PC” publications. But Apple itself has some digging to do in getting itself into a thoroughly Post-PC posture. See “Dear Apple: You’re not “Post-PC” until you cut the cord”.


How Will the iPad Shape the Magazine Market?


Jobs and Lyotard: How Magic Flummoxes

1 Comment

  1. I've moved from paper subscription to digital on almost everything I subscribe to. No wait, on EVERYTHING I subscribe to. I like being able to search my magazines (great part of Exact Editions), read them wherever I want, use embedded links, audio and video. And I like Conde Nast's magazine model. The digital environment does not have to replicate the print one. And in every digital magazine I have, it doesn't, even if the difference is as simple as hotlinks to URLs.

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