Coming to an iPad Near You

John G. Swanson
September 19, 2011
COLUMN : Opening Remarks | Channels

At least a handful of you reading this article will be doing so on your iPad, I hope. I say that because with this issue, Window & Door is pleased to say we now offer our very own iPad app.

In many ways, this is not a big technological leap. It's been possible to look at the digital edition of Window & Door on any computer, including an iPad, for some time. You could flip through the pages on the screen just as you flip through the pages of our print edition. And long before our digital edition was available, it was possible to read most Window & Door articles on our website, even if the presentation was a little different.

In other ways, of course, tablets like the iPad are game changers.  In an article we did in May, manufacturers like Lindsay Windows and dealers like Apex  that had incorporated these devices into their operations already were praising their functionality and convenience. Since that time, industry software suppliers like WTS Paradigm and Fenetech have launched iPad apps, and at least one manufacturer, MI Windows & Doors, created an app for its dealers. Does anyone doubt that more are on the way? 

In a WDweekly poll taken last March, only 10 percent of respondents said they owned an iPad, but another 17 percent expected to own one by year end. Judging by what I saw at GlassBuild America, that type of growth was apparent. They could be seen in the hands of many exhibitors and attendees alike. I wouldn't attempt to guess what percentage of people walking the trade show floor had them, but I would say it was substantially higher than at 2010 GlassBuild in Las Vegas and the 2011 International Builders' Show in Orlando.  

With this growth in iPad use and a Window & Door app, it's nice to think our magazine will be getting into more hands. It's also nice to think about new opportunities we'll have to deliver more information and insights. We plan on crawling before we walk, but an app enables us to add more content to issues, including videos, technical data and other resources that can be accessed by the tap of a finger. We know many of you look at the magazine as much for the ads as you do for the editorial, and advertisers too will be able to take advantage of these capabilities.

Yes, many of these capabilities have already been there online with our website.  We could do more stories there we could fit in the print magazine. We could insert videos and links to other sources of information. That will all be there still, but the app will offer much of that and more in a new user-friendly way that we expect will appeal to many readers.

And we're really just scratching the surface. There's only a handful of industry apps currently available. In addition to those mentioned above, I know Marvin and Velux have developed apps, and industry suppliers such as Schlage Locks and Veka have too. Given the rapid penetration of tablets and smartphones into our lives, it's not hard to imagine 100 more such apps being introduced by the end of 2012.  Some will offer functions we can't imagine yet, and personally, I believe the Window & Door app will evolve too, providing content and functions we're not even thinking of yet.  

I generally try to avoid commercial pitches in this space, but if you own an iPad, we hope you'll go to the Apple's App Store and download the Window & Door app today. It is free. And, by the way, we didn't forget those of you who own Xooms, Galaxy Tabs or other Android tablets. We're a little uncertain of the timing, but we have an app for you too.  It may already be there in the Android Market.

One final note to all those "readers of a certain age," like me. You'll still be able to scan through your copy of Window & Door, check out the latest New Products, read Julie Ruth's update on the Code Arena and look for other articles of interest, as well as check out all the ads in the same way you have for years. The print edition of the magazine isn't going away.  But we hope you'll check the new app out too.