updated 10:20 am EDT, Wed June 2, 2010
Dev explains massive size of magazine downloads
Adobe and publisher Condé Nast were forced into a relatively clumsy solution in order to get the Wired iPad app past App Store restrictions, says a designer who has taken a close look at the software. The title was originally created using Flash, then cross-compiled for Apple handhelds. When Apple suddenly altered rules to block cross-compiling, however, Adobe switched to a method involving Objective-C and HTML5.
The designer source notes that upon inspection, the iPad edition of Wired is really based on a series of XML files which lay out thousands of JPEG and PNG images. In the current issue the total is 4,109 images, taking up 397MB of disk space. Each page is represented by two main images, for portrait and landscape modes, along with many smaller ones for interactive animations and other interface elements.
The graphics and XML files, exported from InDesign material, are hosted within an app compliant with App Store rules, which when combined with audio and video results in the present issue's 527MB size. Another source, a former worker with Condé Nast, suggests that the same approach is likely being used for GQ and Vanity Fair. This offers the double advantage of minimizing work while counting iPad downloads against distribution numbers, making the magazine an easier sell to advertisers. The tradeoff is that readers must set aside a large chunk of memory on their iPads in order to keep one or more issues.