We've heard a lot on the iPad's potentially transformational powers for publishing, and we've seen some custom-built magazines and newspapers already. Now WoodWing has a tool that makes turning a mag into a PadMag almost automatic.
WoodWing has just unveiled its iPad Digital Magazine Production system, and it's primarily designed to leap off the Adobe InDesign platform (commonly in use to generate printed mags) and take content produced within that system and transmogrify it into something that'll look excellent on Apple's upcoming WonderPad. But when its full iPad Tools suite launches, it'll also enable the same sort of content tweaking from a Flex and HTML5 solution too (for those users who haven't forked over the $200-odd for Adobe's product.)
The idea's pretty simple: You take the magazine art from InDesign, then load up WoodWing's Content Station, and manage the art and text into the particular layout you wish for the iPad magazine version. This art, of course, can be animated, video or dynamically-linked to live Web data in nature, making the most of the dynamic presentation skills allowed by the iPad's powerful graphics skills.
Unlike some other systems, WoodWing notes that this process is particularly simple because it's very drag-and-drop based, and doesn't require any programming skills—like knowledge of JQuery, for example. This completely streamlines how it all works, of course, and makes making an iPad mag simple for those who aren't expert publishers. When you've cajoled your content into the right format, you click the "export" publish button which swishes it off to a "delivery server." A branded e-reader app on the iPad then connects back to that cloud server and downloads the magazine content to the tablet.
Who's this for, though? We know people like Wired are already working on crafting their own iPad app since they already have much of the expertise in-house. WoodWing is probably aiming at the second-rank magazines with publishers who are keen to get a toe-hold in the iPad magazine e-publishing business without too much difficulty or expense. Fanzines are also another obvious target market. But since this system seems so simple, it could be a hugely disruptive little innovation: All it would take is for a fresh new science magazine publisher to produce excellent content, master WoodWing's system and get a magazine on sale at a lower price than, say, Wired, and it could quickly steal chunks of Wired's potential market. After all, the magazine industry is being turned on its head by Apple, so this sort of maneuver is much more likely.
What we can also infer is that WoodWing is tapping into a whole new tertiary market that'll grow up around the iPad. There's already one like it for the iPhone, offering to craft you a specialized-content iPhone app to promote your own publications or other forms of media. But since the iPad's much more capable, we can probably expect WoodWing's magazine effort to be followed by a hoard of others.
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