Looking Ahead to 2014
What we're looking forward to in 2014 . . .
Smarter apps. Technologies like iBeacon will help apps deliver more relevant content to users. iBeacon is an indoor-positioning system through which tiny transmitters send Bluetooth signals to iOS devices within a 160-foot radius. Think customized coupons as you walk into a store. Think popup video as you approach a museum exhibit. Think multimedia that summons you on the sidewalk. Used indiscriminately, it's spam. Used smartly, it's a game changer.
New business models. Of the 1 million-plus active apps in Apple's App Store, 62 percent (617,011) are free and 19 percent (187,292) are 99 cents. Publishers will be hard-pressed to justify high-priced applications in the land of the free, and will be challenged to monetize content in new ways. Worth noting: The average price of an app is $1.39. The average price of an iBook is roughly $9. People are willing to pay for quality content. It's all about the way that it is packaged, marketed and distributed. Hmmmmm . . .
Narrowcasting. At JZD, our workload has shifted dramatically. Instead of developing apps for the masses, we're called upon more frequently to create apps for highly targeted audiences. Currently in development: apps for employees, for sports fans, for tourists, for children, and for retirees. Some are headed to the App Store, others are to be distributed privately. As tablets proliferate, so do opportunities to captivate specific audiences.
Magazines 3.0. As digital magazines flounder, we hope that publishers will rethink their business models. We'd like the option to buy magazines a la carte, choosing individual articles and categories for a personalized experience. We want content where it's useful: Entertainment Weekly reviews in my Netflix app; InStyle suggestions as I'm shopping for shoes; Sports Illustrated content as I'm seated at the stadium. And let us purchase the products we see onscreen without fussing with a credit card.
New delivery vehicles. We continue to build tablet and mobile apps using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, but we're watching closely as web-first platforms get better and better. We're closely watching Medium, Tumblr, Atavist, Publet, SquareSpace and the ambitious multimedia stories being produced by Sports Illustrated. Web-first publishing offers ubiquity. But it lacks spontaneity, forcing content into templates. Expecting lots of movement here in 2014.
It should be an exciting year. Appy holidays from your friends at Joe Zeff Design, and above all else, stay classy!