There’s a fascinating article about publishing to the iPad by Jason Pontin, the editor in chief and publisher of Technology Review. In Why Publishers Don’t Like Apps he argues “The future of media on mobile devices isn’t with applications but with the Web.”:
Here, the recent history of the Financial Times is instructive. Last June, the company pulled its iPad and iPhone app from iTunes and launched a new version of its website written in HTML5, which can optimize the site for the device a reader is using and provide many features and functions that are applike. For a few months, the FT continued to support the app, but on May 1 the paper chose to kill it altogether.
And Technology Review? 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.
In InDesign CS6 there are tools to maintain alternative landscape and portrait versions, but even if designers are smart enough to use them (which I rather doubt) maybe the problem is indeed more fundamental?