disruptive technology iPad

Why magazine apps may be up for a decline.

Dedicated magazine apps for tablets may look good, but writer Jon Lund fears they’re headed straight to oblivion. Last year, Nielsen estimated the average mobile user has 41 apps on his or her smartphone. In April, a Flurry study showed the average smartphone user opens only eight apps a day, with the most popular being Facebook, YouTube and game apps. And according to a 2012 report from Localytics, 22 percent of all apps are only opened once. To make things worse, magazine apps themselves are invisible in the large streams of information governing the web. When a magazine is organized as an app rather than as a website, its articles can neither be indexed or searched on the web. When Lund nevertheless managed to find the time to open up an iPad magazine, he felt as if he were holding an outdated media product in my hands. This year, tablets will probably outsell laptops. Apple alone sells 15 to 20 million iPads each quarter. But magazine app success stories are hard to find. Evidence of success for standalone iPad magazines is even more difficult to find. The grandest attempt to make this new publishing platform work, News Corp’s “The Daily” iPad app, closed after two years of operation. Believing the future for producing quality content for niches is both bright and promising. But it has to be presented openly, socially, in flow — not in closed tablet apps.

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