updated 09:45 am EDT, Mon March 14, 2011
May be disappointed with inconsistent interfaces
Apple is working on an official magazine template to be included in a future version of Xcode, a rumor claims. Much of Mac and iOS development is governed by Apple's Human Interface Guidelines, which attempt to dictate standard appearance and behavior for software. To encourage and simplify their adoption, some templates are by default bundled with Xcode.
One of Apple's primary motivations for a magazine template is thought to be solving inconsistency. While high-profile iPad publications such as Project, The Daily and The Economist are on the App Store, these all use different interfaces which may be confusing or even counter-intuitive. Common ground could make magazines more inviting, if potentially impacting creativity and/or custom-tailored apps.
The template is also expected to simplify in-app issue and subscription purchases, and, theoretically, foster magazine development. "Imagine a guy drawing and writing a comic book," a source says. "He can't sell it to Marvel or DC so he hooks up with a programmer and within days, he's getting his comic book published and sold on iTunes."
Implementation of the template is anticipated by the end of the year. The biggest obstacle to iPad magazines, though, may be subscriptions. Apple is allowing companies to keep all revenue from subscriptions sold outside of an app, but is claiming a 30 percent cut of in-app purchases, which must be priced the same or less. A federal probe of possible antitrust violations is underway.