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Almost 25 years ago, I saw a computer that changed my life. It was Apple’s Macintosh II, the first color Mac. As a technology reporter for the Chicago Tribune, I had written admiringly of the original black-and-white Macs. But when an Apple rep brought me an early production model of the company’s second-generation Mac, I knew this was the start of something big. Before long, tools like Photoshop and QuarkXPress would be developed for these new machines, and, suddenly, a guy like me could start a magazine in his guest bedroom. Publishing would no longer be the exclusive domain of well-funded companies.
I experienced similar feelings the first time I saw Apple’s iPad. For publishers, there’s no question that multimedia devices like the iPad will allow us to reinvent the way we tell stories. But in the thrill of these new possibilities, it’s easy to overlook an equally profound renaissance that tablets like the iPad and Kindle are delivering right now. Simply put, they’re breathing new life into reading. Look around any coffeeshop or light rail train these days and you’ll see folks reading on tablets. And I don’t just mean Twitter, email, and Web pages. They’re immersed in books and magazines, rediscovering the joys of long-form writing.
It was with that in mind that we decided the first tablet version of 5280 would be one that focuses on the things you already love about magazines: writing, photography, and design. We’ve partnered with Zinio, the world’s largest e-newsstand, to create a digital version of 5280 that’s now available for iPad and iPhone, as well as Android tablets and traditional computers. Just as in the physical world, you can buy single copies or an annual subscription.
When you first open 5280 on a tablet, you’ll be blown away by how absolutely beautiful the pages look. But after swiping through a story or two, something even more amazing happens: The device recedes into the background and pretty soon you’re no longer reading a magazine on a tablet. You’re reading a magazine. It’s the very same relaxing, thoughtful experience you’ve always had—except that, when that magazine is finished, you’ve got thousands more available with a tap of your finger. This is important stuff. Just as having 1,000 songs in your pocket forever changed the way we experience music, the prospect of carrying an entire library of books and magazines in a two-pound, environmentally friendly package has the potential to elevate our society in ways we can only begin to imagine.
Where all this leads, only time will tell. But it’s clearly the start of something big.
—Daniel Brogan, Editor & Publisher