Apple’s latest product is being tipped to make a long-held dream of advertising a reality: the animated magazine.
Animated print has been a vision of the publishing industry for decades – but it has long seemed like something resigned to science fiction. However, aside from appearing in movies such as Minority Report or in any number of science fiction books, the concept has been a popular aspect of less fantastical yet undeniably futurist articles in magazines such as Time or Life.
In fact, a relatively basic version of the technology has been available in the real world for some time. In 2008, Esquire magazine celebrated its 75th anniversary with an animated cover – and video-in-print adverts appeared in US magazine Entertainment Weekly last August.
Moreover, these pioneering techniques are relatively basic. Given the disposable nature of traditional print, Esquire’s electronic ink or Entertainment Weekly’s video-in-print has remained of limited use. Aside from the limited lifespan of the technology, production costs drove the advertising costs up Their content was also limited; electronic ink was incapable of 3D animations, video or complex designs whilst the video-in-print technology.
The launch of Apple’s iPad may offer the magazine industry a solution to these problems though, placing their products on closer ground with online advertising. When the product launches in the US this Saturday, users will be able to buy iPad versions of some of the most popular print publications – complete with animated text, pictures and advertising.
Delivered through Apple’s App store, if the latest ‘i’ product proves as popular as the last, it could mark the start of a huge shift from print to digital.
Multinational publisher Condé Nast has already prepared a version of GQ ahead of the launch, with editions of Vanity Fair and Wired following over the next two months. News international’s New York Times and Wall Street Journal will also be available on launch.
Advertisers have already shown a clear interest in investing in the new medium. FedEx, Unilever, Toyota Motor, Korean Air and Fidelity Investments, Buick, Oracle and iShares have all booked space on iPad versions of traditionally printed publications. Credit card firm Chase Sapphire has even bought out the New York Time’s entire iPad advertising units for the first 60 days following the launch.
Dispatch reports that advertisers and creative design agencies are currently working out ways to negotiate the difficulties of working with the limits of the iPad system. Whilst online adverts featuring 2D and 3D animations are typically made using Adobe Flash, Apple products do not handle the application. People magazine is working around this by using InDesign to create slide shows, videos and animation.
This isn’t an ideal solution as InDesign has its limits. However, if successful the iPad will inevitably have its imitators, even if these are simply expanded eReaders, and they are unlikely to have the same proprietary policies as Apple.