Condé Nast’s Adobe Flash dead end, or why Wired is such a bloated iPad download

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“Magazine publisher Condé Nast was so sold on Adobe’s Flash platform that the company didn’t even anticipate Apple’s iPad wouldn’t support Flash. As a result, it had to resort to a clumsy workaround from Adobe to make it into the iTunes App Store,” Daniel Eran Dilger reports for AppleInsider.

“Apple has hitched its wagons to HTML5 for dynamic content, and won’t be supporting Flash until Adobe’s platform develops into something that works really well on mobiles and customers start demanding Flash playback as a feature,” Dilger reports. “Unfortunately for Adobe, that’s unlikely to ever happen because the iPhone OS now makes up such a large and conspicuous chunk of the smartphone, media player, and tablet markets that content developers are now rethinking how to publish their content in a format that can be viewed by Apple’s influential users.”

“Web developers sensitive to Apple’s affluent demographic have already begun removing Flash from their websites, from Carnival cruise lines to the Virgin America airline,” Dilger reports. “But rather than anticipating this trend, Condé Nast forged ahead with Adobe on a Flash-centric publishing partnership, only to find out, too late, that Adobe’s backup plan for automatically generating native iPhone apps from Flash Professional wouldn’t meet with Apple’s App Store approval.”

“In order for Condé Nast to ship an iPhone OS app for iPad, it would need to build the app using Apple’s development tools, not Adobe’s middleware solution,” Dilger reports. “”Rather than design original content for iPad or simply create a custom, standards-based website in HTML, Adobe sold Condé Nast on distributing its existing InDesign pages as large graphic files presented using a standard iPhone OS viewer app built according to Apple’s rules.”

Dilger reports, “The result was that Adobe could claim relevance as an essential link in the publisher chain, and Condé Nast could sell its magazine published as an iPad app without too much extra work. The downside is that there’s nothing really interesting or novel about the iPad version of Wired, apart from the fact that Adobe’s workaround results in a huge ‘app’ that weighs in at around 500MB.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: All you need to know about the lazy Adobe ingrates is that, after putting Condé Nast through the wringer* and then “helping” Wired excrete their iPad “app,” Adobe issued a press release patting themselves on the back. Patting themselves on the back for yet another job shittily done.

*We’re not absolving Condé Nast. At some point a bad decision should be recognized and changes made. Condé Nast continued down an obvious dead end for far too long. Unfortunately, from the quotes featured in Adobe’s press release, Condé Nast still hasn’t turned around.


  1. I was wondering why the download was so large — I didn’t think the VR gizmos and videos could account for that. If every page is nothing more than a raster file, then Wired just released the largest digital comic book. (Digital comics are archives of raster scans.)

  2. As details of the Wired mag app, and the nature of its production, have been coming out I’ve been very disappointed. It truly is a kludge. That’s okay for getting something accomplished on a deadline, but will never stand as a usable solution.

    Adobe COULD make the tools necessary for this type of multipurpose publishing. But they are losing credibility when they tout Wired as this big success story when it is really a story about barely dodging an epic failure.

  3. Wired is seriously, seriously bloated. For such a small magazine to take up over 300MB is ridiculous, especially when you consider that the average size of a Zinio Magazine (which is just fine by me), is 15MB.

    I wish they’d just work with Zinio at this point.

  4. From MacFanboys:

    “The iPad is Great! It’s going to change publishing forever! Just look at Wired’s new app. It’s sooo cool. This really changes things.

    What? It was made by Adobe? OMG! THIS SUCKS!”

  5. I have both the Popular Science app and the Wired app, and with the exception of embedded video which Pop Sci currently lacks, Wired is inferior in every way. Both are still too expensive though. I won’t buy a new issue of either until the price hits $3 or less.

  6. Hey MDN,

    Did you have this ‘Take’ when the Wired app was released? Or when Adobe made their announcement about publishing? Seems kind of easy to throw stones once someone else has written negatively on the topic.

  7. OK, this is frickin’ INSANE:

    “Adobe sold Condé Nast on distributing its existing InDesign pages as large graphic files presented using a standard iPhone OS viewer app built according to Apple’s rules. . . . Adobe’s workaround results in a huge ‘app’ that weighs in at around 500MB.”

    FACT: InDesign can save anything it creates at a PDF.

    FACT: PDF is a native file format in all Apple OS products, including the iPad OS.

    FACT: No special app is required to ready any PDF on an iPad.

    FACT: All PDF encryption and password protection is supported natively on the iPad.

    FACT: This month’s electronic version of MacWorld magazine weighs in at 10 MB. Imagine that.

    And Adobe provides a 500 MB POS app to read a dirt simple magazine on an iPad.

    What was that key word again?

    I N S A N E

    You blew it real bad Adobe and Condé Nast / Wired. Your TechTardiness is clearly noted. Better luck next try.

  8. Fact: Conde Nast has failed at every attempt to have an internet business. Their record with anything internet related is worse than disma. If it wasn’t a family owned business, there isn’t a Newhouse who could get a job sweeping the streets.

  9. Rubbing it in:

    What better way to supply an interactive and secure electronic magazine than a PDF? Here is a short list of what the PDF format supports:

    Text encoding
    Raster images
    Vector images
    XFA Forms
    Digital signing
    User Rights signatures
    Embedded files
    Mars XML/XMP
    3D artwork
    Accessibility features
    Interactive GUI elements
    Color management
    JavaScript (ECMAScript)
    . . .

    No Flash Required.

  10. The funniest thing? This link in Adobe’s press release: “To view a video of the WIRED Reader on iPad, visit: [link]”, while it wants to show off how Wired’s app is so cool on the non-flash-iPad… is in Flash! LOL

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