NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- There are a lot of uncertainties about magazines on the Apple iPad -- how great is the public demand for them, can publishers make money on them? But there's an equally important logistical question that has to be addressed before publishers can do anything else: How do you build it in the first place?
Three of the magazine world's early iPad adopters -- Time Inc.'s Time magazine, Men's Health from Rodale and Bonnier's Popular Science -- walked us through their processes.
1. The print magazine ships in stages during the week, and during that process the Time team uses software from the Dutch company WoodWing to pour the editorial contents into an iPad template that the mag's design team built at the outset.
2. Designers check the iPad pages to see how things fit, which articles have turned into too many screens of uninterrupted text, and so on. Because Time's iPad version uses bigger fonts and images than the print version does, and the iPad screen is smaller than a standard magazine page, each page of print editorial turns into roughly two-and-a-half iPad screens. Designers will break up too many screens of text with new photos or illustrations.
3. As the magazine closes each Wednesday, about six designers stay late to work on the iPad edition, again checking on layout but adding elements such as slideshows and videos. They rotate the weekly duties of writing extra captions and copy for the horizontal-view table of contents and cutting or adding any copy as necessary to make it fit.
4. At around 10:30 on Thursday mornings, editorial and design staffers gather around "The Wall," where the whole iPad issue is laid out on paper, for a last look. The designers then take the next two hours or so finishing off the issue. "Pre-iPad, Thursday was really a clean-your-desk day, a day when everyone at Time got to tee up next week's work," said Josh Quittner, editor at large at Time Inc., where his primary role has become helping the company's magazines create iPad editions. "Not so anymore. The half-dozen designers all come in early and will work from about 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. getting the iPad edition out the door."
5. The imaging department inserts the iPad edition's special ads -- it doesn't include the print edition's ads -- and handles other assorted duties. Text for the vertical view, for example, gets restyled in Apple system fonts so users can resize the type.
6. The whole issue is copyedited and put in an iPad simulator for a general run-through by design and production people, who make sure everything works.
7. A computer compiles the files into an iPad issue in a process that takes 10 minutes. Tech staff compresses the file, strips out video and puts the video on Brightcove servers to play on readers' command. Time doesn't download video with the issue itself the way Wired's new app does because Time wants to keep the file size small, but that means readers must have a signal to stream video later.
8. The file must go to Apple by 3 p.m. Eastern time, the equivalent deadline of sending it to the printer," Mr. Quittner said -- after which Apple vets it and makes it available for download by midnight at the latest, beating the print edition's arrival on newsstands.