Adobe has announced the Digital Publishing Solution, the first stage in a new set of tools that allows designers to create interactive magazines in InDesign that can be output as apps for the iPad and other mobile devices (and the desktop).

According to a blog post by Adobe's Dave Dickson, the new tools will allow designers to "create immersive content without having to hire additional developers or invest in extensive retraining". Pages are designed as usual in InDesign, with interactive elements such as video and slideshows added using the current set of interactive tools (below).

Creatives will also be able to add more advanced interactive objects such as 360-degree image rotations and image panning/zooming -- but in the Solution's first iteration, this will be require a separate application called the Interactive Overlay Creator (below). Adobe says that these features will be added to a future version of InDesign.

Once a project is complete, another separate application called the Digital Content Bundler (below) converts the InDesign project into a new format called .issue. This format includes vertical and horizontal magazine layouts, metadata, interactivity, images, and video.  This file is then 'rendered', as the blog post puts it, and can be viewed through the Digital Content Reader app on the mobile device.

Publishers can create their own branded version of the app for their magazine (or group of titles). The first of these was the recent Wired Reader for the iPad, which was created using the Digital Publishing Solution. The Wired Reader forms the backbone of a promotional video, that shows a sneak peek at the Digital Publishing workflow (though ironically, it's a Flash video that can't be watched on the iPad).

The Digital Content app has been developed for the iPad, but Adobe expects to create versions of it for other mobile devices (and the desktop).

The tools within the Digital Publishing Solution will first be made available to most users in 'late summer' through the Adobe Labs beta site. It's part of Adobe's Digital Publishing Platform, which casts its net wider to include publishers of books, newspapers and catalogues.

Quark recently announced a similar toolset for QuarkXPress, which uses the still-in-development Blio Reader format.