The New York Review of Magazines

iTimeline: Two Years in iPad History

By Chris Haire

In April 2010, Apple Inc. unveiled a new product: the iPad. (You may have heard of it.) Two years later, it is clear that this technological wonder has revolutionized many aspects of the publishing world—and the digital world as well. Here’s a timeline. 

May 26, 2010

Wired, the magazine that reports on all things digital, announces the launch of its first digital edition for the iPad, making it one of the first magazines with an app. The application, which costs nearly five dollars to download, sells 24,000 copies in its first twenty-four hours.

June 22, 2010

Condé Nast resurrects the defunct Gourmet magazine in the form of an iPad application called Gourmet Live, allowing readers to search through the magazine’s large collection of recipes and other popular archival content. This, according to Condé Nast Chief Executive Chuck Townsend, will appeal to longtime readers. Condé Nast, meanwhile, also hopes that utilizing social media an interactive content will attract younger audiences.

November 2010

Sir Richard Branson creates Project, which he claims is the “first native iPad magazine.” It focuses on—well, anything and everything: German architecture, political speechwriting, movie releases, record labels and fast cars. The lifestyle magazine becomes the No. 1 app on iTunes, and its user base will soo exceed 1.3 million readers.

December 30, 2010

The Business Insider website reports that iPad sales for Wired, GQ, Vanity Fair and Glamour have been flat or negative for the previous six months. The end of the year sees declining digital sales for all magazines that report figures to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Analysts blame the high cost of iPad editions compared with print editions.

February 15, 2011

Apple announces a subscription model for the iPad, telling publishers it will take thirty percent of all sales generated through its platform. This profit margin upsets many in the industry.

May 2, 2011

Time Inc. strikes a deal with Apple that allows free access to its iPad app for those who subscribe to any of its various publicationsSports Illustrated, InStyle, People, etc. This is a major victory for magazine publishers attempting to wrest control of their iPad circulation from Apple.

May 9, 2011

Condé Nast begins offering subscriptions for the iPad edition of The New Yorker. Its other publications—Allure, Glamour, Golf Digest, GQ, Self, Vanity Fair and Wired—will add subscriptions shortly thereafter.

August 30, 2011

CNN acquires Zite, a company that created an iPad app that provides a personalized magazine experience. Zite uses its technology to learn a user’s preferences and then aggregates relevant content from a variety of sources.

September 13, 2011

The Financial Times launches what it calls a transformative iPad app for its luxury lifestyle magazine How to Spend It. The app offers seventy-five issues of the magazine catalogued by subject, not publication date.

October 12, 2011

Apple debuts Newsstand, an application for organizing all of your digital magazine and newspaper apps in a single location. Similar to the iBooks app, it also has a built-in store for buying subscriptions. In the coming months, it could boost magazine iPad sales.

December 1, 2011

Rolling Stone, still without an app for its magazine, releases its first application—a ten-dollar version of the “Beatles Ultimate Album-by-Album Guide.” Wenner Media also announces that apps for Rolling Stone and Us Weekly will arrive sometime in 2012.

One Response to “iTimeline: Two Years in iPad History”

  1. Sarah says:

    I think the elephant in the room is that no one is making any money! This is a really great piece. A frank position on apps for publishing from Jason Pontin,the editor in chief and publisher of Technology Review. 2012 is going to go down as the year big publishers left the iPad behind.

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