The latest version of the Sports Illustrated Apple iPad app only works in landscape mode and the publisher isn’t very happy with how Apple allows users to sell content.
The SI app had previously rotated depending on how you wanted to hold the tablet. The switch to horizontal is twofold: the company is able to save money on production and it believes that’s the best way to view its content.
If you hold the SI Apple iPad app in portrait mode, you’ll be be greeted with a warning on the bottom which says, “”This page is intended to be viewed in landscape mode. (There’s nothing wrong with your iPad — just turn it horizontally.)”
On a blog, TIME’s Josh Quittner discussed the changes. He said this version allows the download to be 30% smaller and the company doesn’t have to hire as many designers.
In fact, by concentrating on that one view, we’ve already been able to innovate: We’ve created a new way to view extraordinary photos that we call the “Super Looooong View.” … Why not add more designers? Well, if we were able to build a real business, with subscriptions that offered our iPad versions to readers at a reasonable price, that would be a no brainer. But we can’t yet, so the best approach for us is to experiment with the format, marshal our (human) resources and start building products on other platforms that will allow us to scale up as our business grows.
The SI Apple iPad app may soon be able to build a “real business,” as there are reports that a subscription option will soon be available. Apple will reportedly pass along valuable demographic information to the publishers, as well.
The subscription Apple iPad service is not expected to be in a single format, like iBooks. So, look for publishers to continue to experiment with user interfaces.
Do you think this is the right move by SI or do you want more freedom in how you can hold the tablet? Does it even matter much?