All this talk about tablets superceding magazines and who am I to argue with the onward march of technology- who knows what will be made obsolete? I can only hope that the two find a way to coexist because to me nothing can beat the heft of pages in your palms, the slip of your fingertips against glossy stock as you flick the page, the weight of a stack of them, spines defiant in their sheer number.
What interests me is the design of the magazines that have launched App editions- I think i-D has, I think Dazed has, I know Interview, UK Vogue and W has. They look like magazines- you run your finger over and the "page" flips, momentarily revealing a pearly grey corner before the new page fills the screen. They have a static cover, ads up the front and then pages of content followed by pages of editorial. They haven't yet found a digital expression that is unique rather than an App-as-imitation-of-magazine.
Reading Benjamin (disclaimer: you can expect lots of references to his work between now and May) has underlined something I vaguely knew already- that the newest of the new copies that which preceded it. Thus the first factories were designed in the traditional form of residential dwellings, and the chassis' of the first cars mimicked carriages.
As people used them more, as the needs sparked by these new spaces and objects developed, so too did the designs, until we got factories as distinctive forms in and of themselves; we got cars that are diverse in design, shape and size but also identifiably distinct from carriages. It will be interesting too to see how ebooks and magazines develop into their own distinctive digital forms also, rather than a verisimilitude of what we currently have. Not that I'm looking forward to the extinction of books and magazines (obviously) but it will be fascinating to see how (and how quickly) this burgeoning trend develops.