Business Insider claims that the Wired Magazine iPad application is now on 3% of all iPads—62,431 downloads out of ~2 million devices, earning Wired over $200,000. That’s more than 3/4 of the 82,357 monthly newsstand sales for the magazine.
But Matthew Ingram over at GigaOM wonders if iPad apps are what publishers really need. I’ve covered Mike Masnick at TechCrunch saying similar things, and was corresponding with a reader earlier today to say them myself. iPad apps can’t do anything that web browsers can’t do, but also can’t do a lot of things that web browsers can do.
One of the fundamental properties of Flash that many web developers — and web users — instinctively dislike is the fact that it removes much of what makes the web so interactive: namely, the links, the ability to share or remix content, etc. In the same way, Wired’s app seems hermetically sealed off from the rest of the Internet. There are some links (including inside ads) but you can’t share a link to a story through a blog or a social network, and you can’t cut and paste anything.
Stand-alone apps might be a bit more necessary on the smaller screen of an iPhone or iPod Touch, where it’s important to make use of every little bit of screen real-estate, but on an iPad with a perfectly serviceable web browser, why do you really need such a thing?
Not to mention the fact that pricing an app at the same cost as a printed edition is ridiculous. What about all the cost savings in not having to print and ship the thing?