Conde Nast Magazines Plan 'Experimental' iPad Apps; Wait For Adobe And Apple To Make Friends

gq iPhone app

Media executives continue to leak details about developing Apple iPad apps, hoping readers will pay for digitized versions of their publications.

The New York Times has some details on Conde Nast’s plans, with a schedule of release dates:

  • April: GQ
  • June: Vanity Fair, Wired
  • Summer: The New Yorker, Glamour

Executives say the apps will be in a test phase. They will play with prices and advertising displays “before wrapping up the experiment in the fall,” according to the Times. Then they will decide if more magazines should be formatted for the iPad.

According to Peter Kafka at MediaMemo, the publisher won’t create iPad apps for other titles “unless Apple and Adobe figure out how to work together.”

From Peter: “But in a conversation I had with Chuck Townsend last week, Conde’s CEO was more blunt: He can’t fully embrace the Wired version, which was created with Adobe’s (ADBE) help and uses Adobe’s Flash platform, unless Apple (AAPL) embraces Flash.

Conde will have “two parallel development tracks going until the relationship between Apple and Adobe is clear,” he told me Friday.”

The apps will be sold through iTunes, which means Apple — not Conde Nast — will have control over that important marketing data about the readers who actually pay for the app.

But there’s still no way to anticipate how many people will actually own iPad apps by next fall, and whether they will be willing to pay, say, $5 per issue of magazine formatted for the iPad.

Conde Nast has hopes based on their GQ iPhone app, will sells for at $2.99 an issue. Readers have paid for about 22,000 issues to date.

But those sales are still minuscule compared to the haul from their print sales. GQ’s December “Men of the Year” iPhone app sold nearly 7,000 times. But the print version of the issue sold 240,000 copies at newsstands and another 667,851 to subscribers.

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