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Adobe announces magazine digital publishing platform for Apple iPad

Adobe on Tuesday announced its new digital viewer technology, aimed to help publishers convert their magazines to an interactive format viewable on portable devices like Apple's iPad.

The technology was first demonstrated with last week's introduction of the Wired magazine e-edition. Though the publication was originally intended to be released based on a version of Adobe's Flash, the software was completely rewritten in Objective-C for approval on Apple's App Store.

The iPad edition of Wired has found great success, with the $4.99 issue remaining at or near the top of the App Store sales charts since its debut.

"Adobe's work with Wired has resulted in a digital magazine format that creates an immersive experience, allowing a publication's unique content, look and feel and advertising to stand out in the digital realm," said David Burkett, vice president and general manager of Creative Solutions at Adobe. "We aim to make our digital viewer software available to all publishers soon and plan to deliver versions that work across multiple hardware platforms. It's safe to say that if you are already working in InDesign CS5, you'll be well on your way to producing a beautiful digital version of your publication."

Utilizing the 9.7-inch touch panel of the iPad, the e-edition of Wired offers unique features such as video, slide shows, 360-degree rotatable images and more. The digital version was designed by the magazine's print team and employs multi-touch gestures, such as zooming.

"Our partnership with Adobe allowed us to re-imagine and build a print issue into an amazing digital magazine experience on the iPad," said Thomas J. Wallace, editorial director of Conde Nast. "Wired's visionary execution of Adobe technology expands the potential of this new medium for all Conde Nast magazines. Our work with Adobe is just the beginning. We expect to use this technology to deliver more of our publications over the coming months."

Adobe has also touted the advertising possibilities with its new digital viewer technology. It noted that the first iPad edition of Wired has allowed major corporations to incorporate interactive features in their ad campaigns. Adobe said the advertisements "encourage readers to interact with each brand."

Wired and Adobe had to rebuild their application from the ground up after it was revealed that Apple would not allow the use of intermediary tools to port software from another format, such as Flash, to the iPhone OS. The move was necessitated after Apple changed the iPhone developer agreement to ban third-party tools that would allow software to be ported from other formats, like Adobe Flash, to native iPhone OS software. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said such tools would result in substandard applications on the Apple-controlled App Store.

Previously, Adobe had developed a digital publishing format dubbed AIR that was designed to be a cross-platform runtime environment that would allow content to be viewed on a number of devices, including those running the iPhone OS. AIR, or the Adobe Integrated Runtime, allowed for the development of standalone applications using Flash tools. But Apple's changes to its iPhone OS developer agreement forced Adobe to develop the alternative digital viewer technology, announced Tuesday.