When Wired launched its magazine app for the iPad in May, it got a wave of publicity — in part because it was the first, and also because it releaseda gee-whiz video pointing out how the ads actually moved, and so on. But now there are more and more iPad magazine apps every day, with Esquire’sonly the latest examplefrom the Hearst empire, and one thing is becoming clear: publishers mostly just want you to look at their content, and are hoping that you will forget all about the Internet and social media and all of those irritating things that get in between you and the consumption of their wonderful content.
Everyone talks about how what publishers love about apps is the ability to charge readers for their content again, especially now that Apple says itwill allow them to charge subscriptions. But the app economy marks — for now at least — a return to the good old days when the walled-garden approach to publishing was the norm, and the Internet was just some pesky chat room for nerds. Wired’s app provides a slick interface to the magazine, but no way of actually sharing it, or of linking it to related content somewhere else — not even to Wired’s own website. It’slike an interactive CD-ROM from the 1990s.