Here's a more thorough answer just posted in a thread on InDesignSecrets.com:
"There is no difference between CS5 and CS5.5 in regards to producing folio’s.
You can create 1 folio at a time for free with CS5 and CS5.5. Here is the basic workflow. I am sure this will be explained in blog post at some point
1. Design the magazine in CS5/5.5
2 Add Interactivity
3. Using the folio builder panel to upload the content to acrobat.com
4. Download the folio onto your tablet with the Adobe Content Viewer (doesn’t currently work, waiting on update)
Note: You can create 1 folio per workspace on acrobat.com with a free acrobat.com account. If you want to create another folio for testing, delete the workspace and create a new one."
...So you can't actually create an ipad/iphone version for general use ie distribute it yourself for example on your website (for free) for people to download.
Interesting. An exciting development for CS5 but not really usable unless you have a feww hundred dollars for subscription a month.
Hopefully someone can clear this up.
Thanks for the feedback.
Apple and Adobe certainly would not like that everyone could host .folio files, I think! Sideloading is possbile, although you still have to use Acrobat.com to create the .Folio file. Download this and put in iTunes, so you can upload in on iPad and view it with the Adobe Content Viewer, at least this is what I understand from the PreRelease forums. But they will not let you create 'loose' files for distribution, you have to pay upfront; 12.000 dollar, and then you get a max of 25000 downloads (after various approvals from Apple), good luck with getting that circulation ;(
You get one folio project with the free Acrobat.com account, and more with the $149/yr and $300/yr accounts.
You can also create .folio files inside of ID5.5 by using the Preview button on the Overlay Creator panel (an Extension). The .folio is stuffed into a fixed shell, over which you have no control, but you can easily view .folio content this way without using Acrobat.com. If you copy and rename the preview .folio, you can make as many as you like.
Distribution, of course, is another matter entirely -- that's what DPS is all about.
So... basically with InDesign/Folio Builder you own a rather expensive production tool that will only let you create a product that you will never physically own yourself?
It only exists on a server that is not yours, and you have no access to the actual file.
Unlike PDFs for instance.
Sure I can send some people an email inviting them to become an Acrobat member and pick up my publication...
But the clients I design for want their publications to float around freely, and reach people they do not know yet.
The free option is way too restrictive for that (and the paid option is way overpriced, in my humble opinion).
Is this intended for large commercial publishers and paid magazines only?
Or am I overlooking something?
I haven't received any specific insights from Adobe, but I'd say that at this point in the turbulent evolution of rich multi-media "player-based" documents, you're correct.
I wouldn't say that the .folio output is completely useless for non-major publishers, however, because it does provide a quick way of generating graphic assets for (potentially) other kinds of HTML-based viewing. The folio document is page-based, like a PDF or (in some ways) to a web page. And the .folio file created (surreptitiously) by InDesign 5.5 is a zip file, so you could very quickly create a set of PNG files in any appropriate size, one for each page of your document (with thumbnails). The other interactive components are in the zip also.
If you're not a magazine publisher, and you're using the folio paradigm just to generate page PNGs, then of course it's major overkill for a minor convenience.
But much (all? I haven't figured all of this out yet) of the interactivity and multi-media supported in folios is available in PDFs, so it's not like we can't make magazines comparable to the big publishing houses. Of course the tablet-oriented interactions aren't yet in Reader, so it's definitely a compromise.
One interesting aspect of the eBook / eMag universe is that the eBook (reflow vs paged) formats are rapidly accomodating sound, video, and interactivity as well, and it remains to be seen which is more useful in the long run -- rich reflow, or rich pages. Support for eBook formats is more problematic at the moment, because the field of eBook formats is chaotic and changing every few months. At least PDF and folio are -- being more proprietary -- somewhat stable.
But basically, I completely agree with your summary, although perhaps I don't feel as frustrated as I did when I first started trying to figure out what features in ID5.5 were actually going to be useful for me. I expect to cut my teeth on eMag PDF projects, (and also the previewer and the viewer) and then (if I'm feeling really ambitious) build a custom-chrome player (a wrapper for Reader or for a WebKit viewer).