Publishers: Fear the iPad

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Despite groans over the iPad's hidden defects and technical limitations, to many publishers it seemed a savior. However, a handful of publishers remain wary of the "Faustian bargain" that developing for Apple entails. Newsweek's Daniel Lyons speaks their case, warning media companies to think twice before jumping on the "Apple iPad app bandwagon." In a conversation with Nick Denton, impresario of the Gawker blog empire, Lyons notes that the "savvier denizens of Internet media" are just fine forgoing the iPad's unique programming environment and sticking to the Web:

Denton has looked at some of the news-media apps and says he’s unimpressed. “Wasn’t it obvious when one played with the WSJ and Time apps that the apps were a massive step back?” he says. “I loved the look of the Time app, but then I tried to select and copy a paragraph to send to a friend. I did the action automatically, without even thinking.”

And guess what? You can’t do that. “You can’t e-mail. You can’t bookmark. It made me realize how much the experience of reading has changed. Nobody really just reads anymore. They copy text, send links, tweet,” Denton says.

The limitations are not confined just to the iPad's programming specifications, but also to doing business with Apple, which is under fire from anti-trust investigators. "Do you really dare to get into bed with Apple, and put yourself at the mercy of Steve Jobs? Over and over, Apple has run roughshod over its partners," writes Lyons. "Recently Apple has been bullying developers, issuing new rules telling them what tools they can and cannot use when they make apps."

Lyons and Denton aren't the only opponents of Apple's "walled garden." Dan Frommer at Business Insider concurs: "And it's true -- of all the apps we've used on the iPad, the web is by far the best."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.