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The Editors Mailbox

Fine Woodworking and the iPad

comments (26) July 8th, 2011 in blogs

Ed_Pirnik Ed Pirnik, Senior Web Producer
thumbs up 8 users recommend

Weve had lots of questions regarding FWW.coms compatibility with the Apple iPad. Here are some up-to-date answers and information on what to expect going forward. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

We've had lots of questions regarding's compatibility with the Apple iPad. Here are some up-to-date answers and information on what to expect going forward.

Ever since the release of Apple’s iPad in the Spring of 2010, the unit’s lack of Flash capability has stood out as a sore point for consumers. But the headache has been even more acute for publishers who have been forced to adapt websites built to operate on the industry standard (at least for the moment) for online video viewing—ie Flash.

Here at, we've been fielding plenty of questions concerning the site's compatibility going foward, and I thought it might be appropriate to fill site users in with regards to where we're at right now, as well as where we're going in the near future.


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Apple’s reasons for not building Flash capability into its iPhones and iPads are purely business/political. Instead of allowing Flash videos to play, Steve Jobs is banking on HTML5--which makes it possible to view videos online without any third party (Flash) intervention—to become the new norm. To be perfectly blunt: HTML5 is where it’s at, but I can’t help but gripe over the fact that it would have made a heck of a lot more sense to have made Apple’s new devices compatible with both platforms. Oh well. That’s neither here nor there. And maybe my gripe is the reason Steve Jobs goes to sleep at night atop a pile of crisp $100 bills and I am left to muddle about with the rest of the plebians. Jobs is a heck of a lot more prescient than I am!

Where are we At?

Since the appearance of the iPad, Fine Woodworking has been re-encoding hundreds-upon-hundreds of videos in order to make them playable on the iPad. The good news is that at this point, approximately 90% of our video content is fully iPad compatible. So for those of you who were understandably frustrated by the inability to watch Mike Pekovich slam out a dovetail on a slim iPad, the wait is over.

What’s Next?

Our next hurdle in the iPad arena concerns Fine Woodworking’s new digital issues. After their recent release of this members-only benefit, some folks griped about the fact that they couldn’t kick their feet up and view the latest issues on their Apple devices. Currently, the vendor who handles our digital issue technology is ramping up to release an update which will solve this problem and allow you to digitally flip through page-after-page of Fine Woodworking magazine, right on your iPads.


The bottom line is, Apple certainly threw a massive curve ball at the online publishing industry last year, but we’ve been hard at work, coming up with solutions and rolling them out incrementally. I’ll be keeping you all informed the moment new updates are made.

Please feel free to post any and all questions in the comments section below. I’ll be watching this post like a hawk for the next few days and will have answers for you as soon as possible.

posted in: blogs, iPhone, iPad, digital magazine, flash, html5

Comments (26)

user-2652851 user-2652851 writes: Men... I'll stay with paper issues until an android solution comes along. Apple devices are not allowed in my house for any reason.
Posted: 8:16 am on July 17th

randyklein randyklein writes: What's the plan for Android?
Posted: 8:50 am on December 18th

Bobarazzi Bobarazzi writes: In Q2 of 2012 Android held 68.1% of the smartphone market vs Iphone's 16.8%. Why in the world would FWW not have an APP available for the Android platform? I think most people on the go travel with a smartphone and a relative few carry an IPAD or similar device. With that in mind, why cater to IOS and not Android?
Posted: 9:26 am on September 20th

johnmcm johnmcm writes: Thank you for your efforts thus far. Having just bought the Ipad 3 I would love an app for FWW that meant I could download the latest issue to read offline.

May 12 - are we any closer?

Posted: 8:27 am on May 13th

aronde aronde writes: It would be intresting to read in FWW a monthly review of the most relevant apps on iPad and Android for woodworkers, which we otherwise might miss.

For example, there is an elegant but simple App " Photo Measures", that allows you to add all kinds of measurements and dimensions on any picture taken, great for sizing up a room or a built-in.

Posted: 4:29 am on March 4th

THisWoodShop THisWoodShop writes: Is there any new on a this?
Posted: 4:18 pm on December 16th

Bill92024 Bill92024 writes: It's been 5 months since this post. Any update?
Posted: 8:04 pm on December 3rd

V1kk1 V1kk1 writes: I would like to try a sample issue on line.
Posted: 2:06 pm on July 17th

woodgeek woodgeek writes: Mr. Pernik
Perhaps have you Or one of your readers might be willing to comment on why one should continue their paper subscription to FW when when one has access to all your great content and more via an iPad? Especially now when issues are available on line via my on line membership.. My long time subscription is up and I find myself facing this question and would appreciate your input.
Posted: 1:52 pm on July 17th

woodgeek woodgeek writes: I too am having a great time exploring all the great content available on the iPad. Your efforts tom enhance the FW experience on the iPad is greatly appreciated. I've browsed recent copies of FW on my Mac and look forward to having the same access on my iPad. I've been a subscriber from nearly the beginning and am having a great time with your enhanced digital content offerings. Keep it coming!!
Posted: 1:31 pm on July 17th

Mberb Mberb writes: As you move to digital, please look closely at what National Geographic has done. Rather than complaining about digital and simply posting print media digitally (which is typical approach by folks, and a pain to navigate through with iPad), they've increased the value to the consumer! Their digital magazine provides all the content of print and then adds substantial content that is interactive and not possible with print. I subscribe to NG through the Zinio app. The July 2011 addition about Cleopatra has an image of a carved bust of Cleopatra. You can rotate the image 360 degrees and see the detail of the carving from every perspective. Imagine what would be possible with Fine Woodworking!!! I ask you to see digital as an opportunity to add value, save cost, and save our environment. Don't bury your head in the sand with the likes of Blockbuster video.

- submitted with my iPad,

The berb
Posted: 9:10 am on July 17th

Marhk Marhk writes: Perhaps this discussion should consider the security issues with Flash. This program represents a portal for hackers that I’d much rather not provide. Interesting that Adobe, although not acknowledging the well known vulnerability, has been frequently upgrading recently because of “critical” issues. This behavior seemed to start about the time Jobs made the decision not to support Flash and made negative comments about its security issues. Let’s move on. There is no reason why one company should control video transmission on the Web. Flash is a proprietary protocol. HTML5 is open source. The way the Web should be!
Posted: 6:10 pm on July 14th

Poplaski Poplaski writes: Glad to see you are addressing the problem. I was thinking of not renewing my subcription because I couldn't watch alot of the videos on my Ipad. That won't be necessary now, Thanks.
Posted: 6:15 pm on July 13th

a_e_b a_e_b writes: ricksite gets it right, converting lots of video using Linux is the way to go.

HTML 5/H.264 is worth the pain. They both cost very little as they're W3C and ITU standards respectively. I watch really nice, live or recorded H.264 TV such as Rough Cut on my iPhone via an iMac with a TV card over the Internet when I'm not able to watch on live and not somewhere there's a TV; and over 3G networks too.

Thanks for converting editors.
Posted: 11:44 pm on July 12th

ricksite ricksite writes: What are you using to re-encode the videos? A modern Linux PC can re-encode hundreds/thousands of videos easily using a simple shell script and ffmpeg.
Posted: 12:17 pm on July 12th

DraftHorseRider DraftHorseRider writes: I second the notion that in order for electronic issues to really be of use, especially where the iPad is concerned, they need to be published in such a way they can be read in their entirity while off line, at 30,000 feet in an airplane.

In this day and age, why publish electronically if your still going to tether your customer to a computer that must be attached to the internet in order to read?

Really looking forward to that day.
Posted: 12:48 pm on July 11th

dstenson dstenson writes: +1 davcefai, Apple puts out a device that's incapable of showing a huge share of online content, and then all the content providers have to expend resources to convert their content. I've been browsing sites, reading e-books and watching video on my various tablet pcs for over 10 years. Apple shows up late to the party, everyone is tricked into thinking it can do something new and content providers have to spend the time fixing the mess...nicely done Jobs.
Posted: 5:53 pm on July 10th

Thoronymous Thoronymous writes: "Where are we At?" You really should end a sentence with a preposition. It should read, "Where At are we?", or, perhaps, "Where are we?" Keep up the good work, and many thanks for your efforts to achieve resolve the Flash issue. Jobs, of course, was right.

Posted: 3:49 pm on July 10th

Ihsat Ihsat writes: Ditto....rsetina
Posted: 3:20 pm on July 10th

davcefai davcefai writes: You've got to love Apple users. I buy devices to read content. They buy devices and then demand that the content be changed to fit.

Posted: 10:54 am on July 9th

Antondeg Antondeg writes: I tried to use the digital issue on the Galaxy Tab it loads the flash, but it is not touch friendly at all. So really it not even a question of flash or no flash it is about touch enabled devices in general. I use Andriod and it handlea flash fine it still needs to be designed for touch interfaces. Even Windows7 and 8 are built for touch. Whatever technology you use it must be bult for touch devices.
Posted: 7:44 am on July 9th

rsetina rsetina writes: I love every issue of Fine Woodworking. To be able flip through issues on my iPad will be a huge plus for me since I live on my iPad. It goes everywhere with me. Thanks so much for keeping up with technology and putting out such a fine magazine.
Posted: 4:52 am on July 9th

GunpowderWoodworks GunpowderWoodworks writes: Excellent work converting your video library to HTML5. Part of the benefit of being able to read content on a tablet is to be able to do it where you want/need to do it. I hope that your vendor will supply you with a solution that will enable subscribers to read the electronic issues offline. If I have to be online to read them, there will be very little utility in it for me. Most of my reading occurs in the car, on a plane/train and sometimes on a bus. I have my entire collection of PDF's from my FWW Archive DVD on my iPad as PDF's but that doesn't help me when it comes to recent issues.
Posted: 8:15 pm on July 8th

bgawthrop bgawthrop writes: It's worth considering that the reasons for not including Flash on iOS devices are not entirely business/politics but engineering. The poor and unstable performance of Flash on similar devices from other makers would seem to confirm this theory.

Where Digital Issues are concerned, the obvious solution adopted by certain other woodworking publications is to use PDF. I can personally attest to how great that reading experience is on my iPad and iPhone.
Posted: 6:51 pm on July 8th

Greg Jones Greg Jones writes: Great news! As someone who commented on the state of the flash videos and the digital issues in that announcement, I appreciate the update and the direction of the FWW online content. Thanks!
Posted: 6:47 pm on July 8th

Mikecorwin Mikecorwin writes: Thanks for the update. I use my Ipad for almost all of my Fine Woodworking online browsing, and even though I sometimes need to trek to my desktop to watch certain videos it is almost always well worth it. The online content is superb and will no doubt only get better when the digital issues are availabkle on Ipad. Keep up the good work!
Posted: 6:25 pm on July 8th

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