June 10, 2014 Last Updated 8:11 am

The Economist updates iPad edition to again address bug issues; The Atlantic magazine updates both digital edition apps

Picsean updates Publishing ++ app, Amazon updates Kindle app to add the ability to listen to audiobooks

The number of major updates issued by magazine publishers spiked following the release of iOS 7 as Apple’s latest version of its mobile operating system proved troublesome. But over the past month or so the number of updates needed to be issued to fix bugs has declined –  though the release of iOS 8 is not that far off, something that probably terrifies more than a few developers still dealing with buggy apps.

seo_cw_productThe Economist for iPad, one of the more popular tablet editions inside Apple’s Newsstand, is still dealing with bugs, though. The few new reader reviews written following the May 12 update still mention crashes.

Today’s update, the fifth this year, again mentions bug fixes, but also says that the update is designed to allow for “occasional content from our sister publication Intelligent Life.” The update also warns readers that the oldest version of iOS that will allow for the app to work properly is 5.1.1.

Apple device owners, of course, are far more likely to have updated their operating systems to the newest version than Android device owners. At the recent WWDC event Apple bragged that nearly 90 percent of iPhone and iPad users were running the latest version of their software, whereas 9 percent of Android devices were running Kit Kat. This generally makes it easier for developers to update their apps knowing users will be able to use new features and that older devices will still be able to run the app properly, But in the case of The Economist, sometimes issues still arise that frustrate both the developers and readers.

TheAt-appsThe Atlantic magazine maintains two separate apps inside the Apple App Store: the main app is called The Atlantic Magazine: Digital Edition and is a stand-alone app; the other is The Atlantic Weekly and is something completely different – a digital publication made up of curated articles from the magazine’s website, rather than a replica of the monthly print edition.

The Weekly edition uses the Mag+ platform and today the app was updated with the simply notice that the update is due to an update from Mag+. The month, stand-alone app, was updated and mentions a bug fix for an issue that prevented some readers from sharing articles via Facebook.

The magazine also has a third app that is for the iPhone only for its feature The Wire. The app is a simple RSS feed driven news app and has not been updated since last year – then again, simple apps often don’t need frequent updating, to the relief of developers, no doubt.

Picsean updated its own publication app called Publishing ++. The app description says the latest issue is July 2012, but the update probably means there are newer issues than that.

The purpose of the app is to show “free sample pages from some of the leading digital magazines built using the Publishing++ platform.” Yet the app says a subscription is required, so what I guess “free” means different things to different people.

Zinio issued an interesting update to its digital newsstand app for iOS, as well. The digital newsstand issued an update on May 27 that introduced a new library that it touted as allowing for easier storage. Just over one week later its latest update says “Updated library! We listed to your feedback and restored the older Library view.”

Amazon this morning updated its iOS Kindle reading app. Now, following the update to version 4.3, readers who own both the Kindle and Audible edition of a a book, can now listen to the audiobook from within the Kindle app.

The change may encourage some publishers to allow for readers to access a free or severely discounted Kindle edition if the reader has bought the audiobook version.

This option is available for publishers when they add their book to Amazon.com’s inventory. Many times publishers simply publish their Kindle edition at a lower price, but Amazon allows the publisher to give the Kindle edition away or discount it if the reader has previously bought the print edition. Now that the Kindle reading app can play the audiobook from within the app this may encourage further discounting. There is still a separate Audible app available, though that universal app appears under a separate developer account from the other Amazon apps.

Last year Apple changed its policy on screenshots for apps, preventing developers from changing their screenshots after they have submitted their apps in order to prevent some less-than-honorable developers from pulling a bit of bait and switch. But developers can still swap out screenshots when they submit a new version of their app.

But one is that a major update of an app, one that adds in new features, is often not being used as an occasion to update the screenshots. So, for example, the updated Kindle app does not feature a new screenshot of their new audiobook feature.

Developers should keep in mind, though, that the Apple developer team will assist you in changing out screenshots if you contact them directly. It is a bit of a hassle, but they will accommodate your request if you explain the reasons – such as forgetting screenshots altogether, or admitting to a mistake at the time the app was submitted.

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