Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) is being opened up to a whole new user base at Adobe's MAX conference in Los Angeles. The new Single Edition (SE) allows users to publish one-off content such as a brochure, illustrated book, annual report or personal design portfolio as an iPad application. That gives freelance designers access to many of the creative and publishing technologies that major publishers have been using to deliver their publications to tablet devices.
Adobe vice-president of product marketing, Ricky Liversidge, says the new DPS SE provides all the technology offered by the pro and enterprise editions, except that content is delivered via Apple's App Store to iPads instead of using Adobe's services to monetise, track and host the app, as well as format and deliver content to different mobile platforms.
"Once you publish, it's static," he explains. "It's a one-time publish. With the Enterprise and Pro versions you can tweak things [in the apps they create]. We're delivering the content, so we can pull one version off our server and let publishers resend [an edited version]. When it's on Apple's store, we can't."
Will the price tag -- $395 in the US (equivalent to £255) -- be too much for some users? Liversidge says designers using DPS SE "should be able to make money". He adds, "This is about helping designers drive business forward. It's not for someone who just wants to publish a few of their photos."
For Emin Kadi, publisher and creative director of Clear, the fashion and art magazine published in print and as an iPad app (above), DPS SE is "perfect". He says he has four issues planned for next year, but "the Single Edition is the way to go for me", because a per-issue charge without a monthly fee gives him more flexibility on when he releases his issues.
Those versions, the Enterprise and Professional Editions, are drawing in larger publishers for a variety of reasons. Dave E Smith, vice-president of publishing systems at National Geographic (below), says they can integrate DPS with their subscription system so that when subscribers log in to their site, they are offered the magazine's app. "That's of huge value for us," he says.
He is enthusiastic, too, about other possibilities the platform offers. "You can put in interactivity [from an app] that goes out and finds fresh content. You can link out, so it's not a completely static experience that you bake once. You've just got to design with that in mind."
As for how publishers might take their use of DPS forward, National Geographic is planning more integration with social media to engage readers more fully, while Clear is looking to focus on design and layout for tablets in the coming year. "Rather than using copy that goes on for 15,000 words across nice four or six-page spreads, as we did for print," Kadi says, "I think we're going to do more visual experience that goes with sound and everything else, that's art-directed just for the device. It's like its own media channel. I really think that that's what we'll become, like a personal TV channel."
DPS SE is expected to be available in US at the end of November, but won't be available in the UK until early 2012 -- with support for tablet platforms other than the iPad due later next year.