Most likely when researching the possibilities connected with publishing magazines on mobile devices (iPad and iPhone) you have been able to observe two trends: native and web apps. Today I’ll try to describe the pros and cons of these two approaches to facilitate your choice.
What is therefore a native app and what is a Web app?
Differences for the reader
Let’s start with the differences for the end user: the reader of your magazine will search for native apps in the App Store. Apple has created an ecosystem of apps and almost every iPhone or iPad user knows that this is the source for downloading apps.
On the other hand, in order to use a Web app, the reader will have to view your website on his or her iPad or iPhone. The website automatically detects that the user is using a mobile device and displays content that has been adjusted to that particular device.
Differences for the publisher
The publisher’s aim is to a) provide the readers with a good product and b) make money on that product. Whereas point a. can be fulfilled by both of these types of apps, point b. is a domain of native apps. As you have probably noticed, purchases can be made in two ways: either from the App Store, or directly via the apps (“in-app purchase”).
Apple has accustomed iOS users to paying for apps and takes pride in the large number of credit card linked to its App Store accounts. This precisely is what makes selling magazine issues through a native app easier than by means of a web app, which requires the use of systems such as PayPal, subscriptions or prepaid systems. Neither of these systems is positively viewed by readers nor is it convenient to use from mobile devices.
Differences from the point of view of making apps
To make matters a little more complicated, making native apps may require a considerable amount of time, resources and money. Once you decide to create your own team of developers, the rates for the development process may reach thousands of dollars.
On the other hand, creating a web app doesn’t differ much different from building a website. Of course it requires considerable abilities and knowledge of the current trends, but it is not that costly and time-consuming as creating a team of native app developers.
In PressPad our aim is to help you resolve these issues – you provide us with content, and we deal with App Store policies, review guidelines, creating and developing apps, servers, etc.
If you have any questions or polemics, you are welcome to post them in the comments.