In an article written for The MacObserver entitled “The Problem with Magazines and the iPad”, David Winograd talked about the problem with magazine storage on the iPad. For him, and certainly for many others, keeping digital versions of magazines is quite an issue since they take up a lot of storage space. “The more interactive the issue, the more storage it takes,” said Winograd. “I’ve watched the digital magazine market progress from mere .pdf files — which some still are — to immersive interactive supersets of print versions. The better ones will take more and more storage.”
Winograd added that the digital magazine market is quite confusing these days since some digital magazines like Macworld cost more than their print version. He expected that there will be savings in not having to physically print a magazine copy, but it turns out that the digital magazine market doesn’t run that way.
Sarah Rotman Epps, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, as quoted in an article by Nick Bilton of the New York Times, said that publishers want to create an exact replica of their magazine including the ads, thus, making digital magazines extremely huge. For instance, Wired can take as long as 40 minutes to download through a basic home DSL connection while The New Yorker can take from 15 to 20 minutes.
In another article written by Bob Sacks, which basically discusses Winograd’s article, Sacks agreed with Winograd on the problem of large download size of digital magazines, but he said that this problem will likely be solved in the next few years.
Sacks pointed out that computer processing speed is getting faster and faster each year. He cited two forecasts that tackle the issue on speed: (1) by 2020, processing speed will be 30x faster than today, and (2) the processing speed combined with FCC implementing policies to make 100 megabits per second the average US broadband speed, 6x what it is today. The result is a faster download speed which will allow people to buy, store, and retrieve as many digital magazines as they desire. Additionally, personal searches will be possible, providing people a quicker way to find and download articles they want. Of course, there will be privacy issues here but that, too, will be addressed by new technologies.
In the end, Sacks concluded that we are still in the early stages of our digital future while Winograd said that he’ll be happy to pay extra money for a 128GB iPad until he can find a better way to manage his digital magazines.