Are native apps the future for print magazines? Not according to the editor-in-chief and publisher of MIT’s Technology Review, Jason Pontin.
His piece on the publication’s switch from a native iPad app to HTML5 web development will make uncomfortable reading for many fellow publishers, and possibly also Apple.
Check the zingers: “The apps were, in the jargon of information technology, ‘walled gardens,’ and although sometimes beautiful, they were small, stifling gardens,” he writes.
“We sold 353 subscriptions through the iPad. We never discovered how to avoid the necessity of designing both landscape and portrait versions of the magazine for the app. We wasted $124,000 on outsourced software development. We fought amongst ourselves, and people left the company. There was untold expense of spirit. I hated every moment of our experiment with apps, because it tried to impose something closed, old, and printlike on something open, new, and digital.”
Oh, and: “The paid, expensively developed publishers’ app, with its extravagantly produced digital replica, is dead.”