Will Today’s Announcement be Apple’s Pages ’12

Had an interesting conversation last evening at Minnedemo, the local Minnesota startup showcase. The focus of the conversation was around high level tools for web app development, mobile app development and, specifically, around iPad publishing.

My analogy was to the *explosion* in activity when Desktop Publishing (DTP) hit. My wife and I started a business to publish her IP since at the time we owned a Mac SE/30, Laserwriter and a copy of Pagemaker. I bought all the books I could on type, layout, graphic design, and here we are, more than 25 years later, with a thriving consulting/publishing business.

We (and many others) want to play in the iPad (and later Android tablet) space and no, delivering just a PDF won’t cut it. We want to participate with fully interactive and rich media content, and we need tools that do for mobile publishing what DTP tools did for print publishing.

One argument I made last night for today’s Apple announcement today is that it will be Pages ’12 and better, easier distribution for any publisher, large or small, to deliver in to iBooks. Makes complete sense because many have touted the current Pages product as arguably the best EPUB product on the market. The argument for Pages ’12 is that it will take advantage of EPUB3, a new standard with many more features (view the links in the righthand menu on this EPUB3 page).

In a nutshell, EPUB3 will enable many of the new bells-and-whistles in HTML5, layered publications (which many of the standalone ebooks display), and delivery of media types like video and audio in a much better way.

Why did I, with confidence, make a second argument that Apple will nail the high level tools piece for publication creation? Besides owning the dominant tablet platform by a long shot, I’ve used all sorts of high level tools. Apple’s Pages, Keynote, and even the oft-maligned and soon-to-be-not-supported iWeb, were the simplest and easiest tools for their tasks that I’ve ever used!  I know, I know…there were severe limitations to these tools and there were issues often with bloated code and items that weren’t displayed properly (e.g., with iWeb: it turned all images in to .PNGs which made it tough for some who *had* to deliver webpages to Internet Explorer 6 users that couldn’t read .PNGs) but the ability to achieve awesome results made figuring out how to workaround using them worth it.

Stay tuned…today’s announcement will undoubtedly be interesting!