Way back in December 2009, the Pleistocene epoch of digital tablet development, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED posted a 190-second video on YouTube showing what the magazine might look like on an iPad. This was tricky because no one at SI or The Wonderfactory, our development partner, had ever laid paws on one. I say paws because the landscape had a distinctly primitive feel. Not that any of the classic Pleistocene megafauna—giant ground sloths, short-faced bears, eight-foot beavers—were actually hunting among the cubicles, but the topic of extinction did come up.
That's not how SI looked at it—not with a growing readership in excess of 20 million—but we were interested in new ways to connect with subscribers. The video got more than a million hits, and by the time the iPad actually launched in April 2010 we were locked in to create new editions for the iPad and other devices on the horizon. Time, as they say, flew. Less than a year later, through SI All Access, digital editions of SI were available on a growing number of Android tablets and smartphones, delivering the enriched magazine to readers at all touch points—anytime, anywhere—for one annual subscription fee. And a week ago subscribers could finally go to the iTunes App Store and sign up for the iPad edition for free as part of their current subscription. This is a big deal to us because it is a good deal for subscribers. And that's where we were headed way back when we started to think about evolution simply as good design—rather than a way of getting the giant sloths off the floor.
iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.