When you turn the latest Sports Illustrated iPad issue to the portrait position, like a book, nothing happens. Just an error message. That's because Sports Illustrated is too poor to offer it in anything but the landscape format.
The issue, says Time's Josh Quittner, who's been guest editing the iPad edition of SI, is that offering an alternative view taxes already overburdened designers. It's 33 percent more work. And they can't hire more designers. They want to! "Well, if we were able to build a real business, with subscriptions that offered our iPad versions to readers at a reasonable price, that would be a no brainer. But we can't yet..." Emphasis mine: SI needs subscriptions to be a viable business as an app, is what Quittner's saying.
Subscriptions the single largest pain point for publishers dealing with Apple, who've otherwise come running to splash themselves on the iPad, one desperate belly flop for print salvation. The sticking points have been many. Apple doesn't want to hand out valuable subscriber info willy nilly; publishers don't want to give a third of subscription revenue to Apple in perpetuity, as current App Store guidelines would dictate. So there've been no subscriptions. Until now, maybe.