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Industry Insight

The Problem with Magazines and The iPad

By Bob Sacks
Published: August 10, 2012

Yesterday I read an article by David Winograd that discusses from his point of view the Problem with Magazines and The iPad. The author has some serious observations about why the magazines on the iPad don’t work for him and no doubt for many others. The problems are mostly hardware/software related, and I am here to tell you that these problems will be completely solved in just a few short years.

I agree with the author that large sized downloads of digital magazines are currently a problem. But every year computer processing speeds are getting faster and faster. Some say that by 2020 the processing speeds will be 30x faster than they are today. Let’s combine the ever evolving processing speeds with the FCC implementing policies to make 100 megabits per second the average US broadband speed, 6x what it is today.

With those two forecasts becoming a reality it will make large file sized magazines stored in the cloud a reality with fast, ubiquitous, always-connected WiFi. The result will enable us all to buy, store and recall from our attic in the cloud as many magazines as our heart desires. Additional to that will be our ability to find any article that we can remember reading on the fly and download it in an instant, with revamped and new search engine capabilities.

These quick and positive personal searches will come from new engines like the Google Knowledge Graph, which is a database that has mapped connections between facts, concepts and ideas. This engine will get to know us on a personal level reading and understand all our emails. Yes, that is correct, you will give permission for it to learn all about you, and the result will be a personal digital concierge, something like Siri on steroids. There will be invasion of privacy issues to deal with here, but those, too, will be solved by still newer technologies. The one I like the best so far is a combined face recognition and unique password system. Hackers will need both to enter your forbidden kingdom of personal information. The bottom line in all this is that we are still in the very early stages of what will be our digital future.



By Margie Dana on Aug 13, 2012

Interesting observations and predictions, Bo. You've reminded us all that we're in the early stages of the future of digital magazines (and books and newspapers), and that we must all be patient and "....wait for it, wait for it....!"

I'll try and be patient. :)



By Gordon Pritchard on Aug 14, 2012

IMHO, magazines are containers for news, opinion, and information - generally focussed on a narrow topic/interest area ( e.g. Fashion, golfing, cars, etc). As such they are a form of pre-digital social media. In that sense, magazines will gradually be replaced by social media just as Twitter, and other similar sites, are replacing news magazines (and newspapers).
Looked at in that light, I doubt that magazines have much of a future no matter how much RAM, or bandwidth, you have available. You can see this happening today in the number of magazine titles that are ending publication and reduced subscriber numbers, whether the magazine is a physical product or delivered electronically.


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