This isn't the 80s anymore. It's not good enough to just pump out lusty hardware like the Walkman in order to drive generous profit streams. In the modern age of consumer electronics, it takes content and an entire ecosystem of software and services to keep customers locked in and buying your gear. That's why we're paying close attention to content deals for the suddenly hot tablet category of devices. Conde Nast has been teasing custom content for next generation tablets for months, lead by mock-ups of its Wired magazine property. So it's no surprise to hear Charles H. Townsend, president and CEO of Conde Nast say he wants to "take a leadership position," on Apple's iPad. According to the New York Times, the company will announce plans today (via an internal company memo) for its first custom iPad digital pubs: the April issue of GQ (there's already an iPhone app for that), followed by the June issues of Wired and Vanity Fair, and then The New Yorker and Glamour sometime in the summer. This first cut represents a broad swath of demographics as Conde Nast trials Apple's newest platform in order to see what works. We should also expect a variety of prices and advertising models during the initial experimentation period. Also noteworthy is Conde Nast's two-track development approach: the iPad version of Wired will be developed with Adobe (as we heard) but the others will be developed internally -- all the digital mags will be available via iTunes although Wired will also be made available in "non-iTunes formats." Assuming it finds a model that works, then Conde Nast plans to digitize other magazines in the fall.

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Conde Nast stakes out 'leadership position' on iPad