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Building a business for “free” is a very big challenge, probably the biggest challenge that a firm and its management can face. It is, therefore, especially pleasing that Apple has joined the group of companies offering some of their products for free.

Of course, “free” is almost never really free. Several decades ago, “free lunch” was free only because the food was so heavily salted that diner visitors had to order a (paid, how else?) drink.

These days, it is no longer necessary to add salt to food in order for parts of products to be offered for free. Google offers e-mail and a search engine for zero dollars in order to learn more about us and to be able to highlight better ads. PressPad provides free magazine templates in exchange for promotion on Twitter or email. Apple is offering its world-class apps for free in order to increase the demand for manufactured devices and to draw more users into its ecosystem.

What does a free operating system and iPrograms for PressPad clients mean?

I wondered about the significance of Apple’s conference 2 days ago to our customers. Certainly, the number of iPads sold is a solid confirmation of the direction in which the market is tending and of what can be expected in the near future. 170 million iPads in just over three years is much, much more than anyone could have predicted. The statement uttered by Apple from the podium – “Who remembers netbooks?” – perfectly summarizes iPad’s strength today.

The second thing I noticed yesterday is free iWork software. Redesigned Pages are especially dear to us, because many of our customers compose their professional-looking magazines today using this program. We are already working to convert our free (free?) template to a version that will be editable in Apple’s Pages.

A few days ago, social media swarmed over the movie of Vaclav Krejci, who recreated iPhone’s home screen in Microsoft Word. The Word has evolved over the years so that today it can be used as a vector graphics program, and Vaclav’s movie looks more like a recording with Adobe Illustrator than with the Word.

We hope that the free Pages will inspire potential magazine and comics publishers to publish their content on iPads and Androids. If we can help in this process, we will be delighted.