Though the Apple tablet is still pure vapor, the mere possibility of its eventual existence is helping push the digital publishing industry forward. Time, Inc. showed off a sharp-looking demo of a potential digital edition of Sports Illustrated, which is garnering rave reviews from both readers and industry analysts alike. And a survey of trade book professionals revealed expectations that the Apple tablet - a nonexistent product that is still no more than a tenacious rumor - will be the best selling digital reader on the market, providing a significant boost to the electronic book industry.
Time, Inc., the publishers of Sports Illustrated, worked with multimedia production house The WonderFactory to create a demo of a digital magazine in a video that they have been shopping around. They also created a working prototype using Adobe Air running on an HP tablet that they showed to focus groups, all of whom reportedly went gaga over it.
There was even consensus that people would be willing to pay $50 for both the paper magazine and the digital version. (The best verbatim: “Sorry—can we go back and see the ad again?” People loved the Weber Grill ad, which you can see in the demo.)
Conde Nast, publisher of magazines such as Vogue and GQ, is already working with Adobe to create digital editions of its titles, and recently showed off a demo of WIRED Magazine made expressly for a tablet. Peter Kafka at AllThingsDigital called the Sports Illustrated demo "as nifty as, and quite similar to," the WIRED demo. Though the Apple tablet is often mentioned as the most likely target for the digital magazines, both publishers are explicitly saying that their products will be compatible with many different platforms.
Also today, theBookseller.com at its conference on e-books in London, announced the results of a survey of more than 1,000 people in the dead tree industry. Sight unseen, the rumored Apple tablet was declared the eventual best-selling e-reader, with 52 percent saying that it would outsell Amazon's $259 US Kindle and Sony's $199 eBook Reader.
A random comment from a presenter on the Diggnation video podcast saying that Apple's device will be inexpensive, meanwhile, set tongues wagging. Digg founder Kevin Rose had said his co-host "heard about something" related to the device, and Alex Albrecht claimed he had heard what Apple was going to charge and said he "was shocked at how cheap the price point was going to be," but suggesting he may or may not have been serious.
video via The WonderFactory