Sports Illustrated: iPad App Hindered by Cost-Cutting Measures

Devotees of the Sports Illustrated (SI) publication for the iPad might have observed a notable change in the most recent edition. The SI iPad version now exclusively supports landscape orientation, discontinuing the portrait mode option available in past editions. When users attempt to switch to portrait mode, they are greeted with a message encouraging them to rotate their device back to landscape.

Josh Quittner, the guest editor from Time Magazine for the SI iPad edition, discusses this modification on his personal blog.

According to Quittner, landscape mode offers a superior visual experience for image-centric publications like SI. This single orientation also allows for the introduction of new features such as the “Super Loooooong View,” which enhances photo presentations, similar to unfolding a poster.

Quittner also notes that focusing on one format reduces the digital magazine’s file size by about 30%, enabling quicker downloads. He highlights the importance of this, especially when other magazines can be as large as 500 megabytes, posing a question about the practicality of storing such large files on devices with limited storage capacity.

Additionally, Quittner acknowledges that economic factors play a role in this decision.

By limiting the format to landscape, the production team can cut their workload by a third. When asked why not simply hire more designers, Quittner explains that the current strategy is to experiment with the format and manage resources efficiently while the business model for digital subscriptions is still developing.

You might recall this video from late 2009 showcasing Time Inc.’s initial concept for a tablet-based SI, before the iPad was even launched. Initially, Time Inc.


Joshua is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing readers the latest news and insights on all things Apple. With a keen eye for detail, Joshua covers everything from the newest iPhone releases to the latest updates in macOS. His articles are a go-to source for Apple enthusiasts who want to stay informed about their favorite products, including the iPad, Apple Watch, and MacBook. Joshua’s straightforward and engaging writing style makes complex tech topics easy to understand for everyone.