So whats the score?
• Adobe DPS can be used to make interactive magazines for the iPad only (although I'm sure more devices will be added to its capabilities soon).
• InDesign CS5 is the main meat and bones of it all. The DPS is built for designers, not for programmers and because it the vast majority of it is all done within InDesign, it's familiar and dare I say it? Fun.
• In addition to InDesign CS5 users will also have use two Adobe Air based applications; Adobe Digital Content Bundler and Adobe Interactive Overlay Creator. These pieces of software along with one InDesign plugin are all you need to make kick-ass iPad mags.
• In order to view said magazines you will need the Adobe Content Viewer, which is an iPad App available for free from the iTunes store. You just side load you finished mag through iTunes and heh presto, viewable iPad mag goodness straight from your desktop.
• Current mags using the technology; well first and (most importantly!) iGIZMO magazine. But also Wired, The New Yorker and few others that can be found here.
• Availability: The new DPS tools are on the Adobe Labs as of now, and as we all know InDesign CS5 is out now. As it is in the Labs phase, there limitations for publishing finished magazines. Read the small print on the site, I'll only cock it up by re-writing it.
Worth remembering though that this is only an announcement of a Beta product, not a commercial package quite yet…
Quarter Two of 2011 is the final public release date, it is unknown exactly how the software will evolve in-between now and then, but I'm sure it will.
• Pricing. The cost of InDesign CS5 for a start. I believe the Bundler and Overlay tools will be free.
For the full DPS service Adobe will charge as follows:
Distribution of single iPad issues (content and App reader bundled together as one whole App) is $699 per month. You can create an unlimited amount of applications for this $699.
If you wish to distribute an App with a series of magazines (for instance iGIZMO is one App with each new issue being loaded into that to build a library) this will be $699 PLUS a per issue fee (unknown at the moment).
If you are a publisher who wants to integrate third-party systems into the Digital Publishing Suite to do print/digital bundling, or offers, or you want to integrate your own e-commerce system to clear payments direct out of application, then you should contact Adobe direct to discuss an Enterprise account.
To clarify; if you are an independent designer, you will be able to design and test view an iPad magazine using just InDesign, the plugin and the two Air Apps. You will be able to send it to your client for approval and viewing but, (unless you wanna shell out $700 per month) it will be up to them to sign up with Adobe for the full Digital Publishing Suite and all it's bells and whistles (like use of Omniture).
For the last few months I have been a part of the Adobe Pre Release programme and have now created three issues of iGIZMO magazine for the iPad as well as other titles, all using the new tools.
My verdict? So far, so good! I love 'em. They are simple, easy to use, easy to get familiar with and have a good range of abilities. Compared with making a Flash based eMag, it's a much easier procedure. I must also say that the challenge of designing each page twice; once for horizontal and once for vertical, is great fun and really makes you and think about layout a little more.
The best thing about these tools is that they give you so much power to be creative. The idea of being able to design and add interactivity to an electronic magazine, then present it on the most desirable gadget in town, is cool as shit. To do it simply, efficiently and from one programme is even better. It's bought back a spark of excitement I had when I done my first print cover, or the first few issues of iGIZMO. This feels like it's the first step into a brighter publishing future.
For more info on the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite...
Adobe Digital Publishing Blog - with video of Condé Nast
Introducing the Digital Publishing Suite
Adobe Publishing to the iPad Video