HTML5 is not the only way to get content to the iPad and iPhone; publishers also have the option of creating native apps for these devices. This was the idea behind the Packager for iPhone feature that Adobe introduced in Flash Professional CS5. Since Apple would not permit an iPhone version of the Flash Player, Adobe came up with a way to convert Flash projects into native iPhone apps. But Apple put the kibosh on this in April by revising its developer agreement to restrict which tools programmers could use to create iPhone and iPad apps. (Apple apparently reversed this decision on Sept. 9, announcing that it would lift those restrictions.)
Since Apple’s April announcement, Adobe announced what it calls the Digital Publishing Platform, a set of technologies built around InDesign that enables publishers to create digital versions of magazines, books, newspapers and catalogs for the iPad and other devices. The first project created with the technology, the Wired Reader for iPad, was released in June. Adobe plans to offer a set of tools for other publishers—dubbed the Digital Magazine Solution—in late summer. At first these tools will be available strictly for the iPad, but the company plans to offer multi-platform publishing technology in the fall. Keep an eye on the Adobe Digital Publishing blog for updates.
Several other companies offer—or plan to offer—their own software for creating iPad content. Perhaps the best known of these is WoodWing Software, whose Digital Magazine Tools were used by The Wonderfactory to design iPad versions of Time Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, People and other consumer publications.
WoodWing’s tools are part of a larger enterprise publishing system that uses InDesign as a page-layout engine. Aimed at large publishers, the software isn’t cheap, with an entry-level cost of about $10,000. The company is currently working on an HTML5 version of its WoodWing Reader app that will run on desktop browsers as well as devices that use the Google Android operating system. Other companies planning similar products include ProImage Ltd. and Media Span.
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Stephen Beale has been writing about computer technology since 1983. He’s the author of seven books on computer applications in the graphic arts and a former news and reviews editor for Macworld. He’s currently editor of a website for public relations professionals in health and medicine. www.sbealeonline.com
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