TechCrunch's Erick Schonfeld got a sneak peek at Time Inc's "Manhattan Project", a digital magazine designed to run on tablet computers, including the fabled Apple tablet. And it's going to rock because that's exactly what people crave for: INTERACTIVE MAGAZINES!!!
People from the 80s. All the five who survived wearing their hair spray and shoulder pads and striped shirts and silk undapants. That's what I get from Schonfeld's description of Time Inc's project, which was built with Adobe AIR:
The demo was shown on an HP table computer with a touchscreen [...]The cover takes up the full screen and you tap it to show a table of contents with thumbnails of the actual layout, which you can rearrange to read in any order you like. To flip through the pages you swipe with two fingers, and you can also tap to get a navigational timeline at the bottom. There is also a navigation wheel which lets you share stories via email, Facebook, or Twitter, favourite a story, go to related videos or photos interviews, other articles, or stats such as live scores.
Holy fuck! We are in for a trip here. And how is this different from a web page exactly? Other than costing ten times more to produce, that is. I will tell you how: It's worse. This effort to cling into the past may look pretty, but no matter of how much eye candy they throw at this, it would still feel stale and dead.
Note to Time Inc. and Condé Nast and Murdoch: I'm sorry, but magazines are not dying because they are printed on paper. They are going under because many other factors. Here are some of them: Reduced attention spans, reader's demand for instant satisfaction, and a general change in visual culture and codes that have rendered the page concept obsolete in favour of more anarchic or time-organised information structures.
So get over this phase, this desperation of yours to keep the old. That's now how innovation happens. Don't try to translate the old into a new medium. Think about the new medium, and how you can deliver content in a truly different way, rather than putting pages together in glorified PDFs. [TechCrunch]