June 16, 2014 Last Updated 7:51 am

Apple updates iBooks Author; Papergarden and the further fragmentation of Android

Amazon updates its Amazon Music app (formerly Cloud Player) after users complain of bugs and crashes

The eBook publishing application from Apple, iBooks Author (iBA), was updated last week. TNM held off writing about the update in hopes to learning more about it as Apple only mentions that the “update contains stability improvements and bug fixes.”

iBA seems to be a very stable program so that seemed a bit off to me, a few days have gone by and only one German website has mentioned the update, and their post was simply the news that the update had been issued.

As someone who works quite a bit with iBA, I have been encountering only one bug: occasionally the program will not let me preview a large file on my Mac. The fix is to shutdown the program, reopen and then preview. It works every time. Maybe this update fixes the issue.

Another possible explanation is that the program was updated to assist with other software updates or betas. With betas available for both iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, it is possible that Apple is running across programs that will need to be updated prior to the fall introduction of the new operating systems.

seo_cw_productAdobe has updated its Adobe Inspire digital magazine app. The update comes after the release of v31 of the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. That update contained a bunch of new features, but it also unveiled Adobe’s partnership with Samsung on Papergarden, Samsung’s new magazine newsstand.

As the tech websites concentrate on hardware news, few websites did more than briefly simply mention the introduction of Papergarden in their stories about the new Samsung Galaxy Tab S. The new app requires Adobe DPS in order to get your digital magazines into the store. That seems like a big deal – both for Adobe and other platforms that are edged out.

This is why, when Adobe demoed Papergarden for TNM, that it was important to make sure its implications were fully understood.

“If you a publisher, and you say, ‘yes we want to partner with Samsung, we want our content available in Papergarden, we will use DPS’ – you have to do that,” said Lynly Schambers, Group Product Marketing Manager, Adobe. “If you want to make your content available through Google Play, you can do that with DPS, as well. So this in no way restricts a publisher to only making their content available through Papergarden, they can still leverage other app stores that we support including Google Play.”

But can you get into Papergarden if you don’t use Adobe DPS? The answer appears to be no, this is exclusive to Adobe (unless another platform tells me otherwise).

What’s interesting about the move, is that it can be seen from different perspectives.

From the point of view of Samsung, Papergarden will be a way of introducing more interactive magazines to the platform. Until now, far more publishers have released replica editions for the Android platform and only created interactive magazines for Apple’s ecosystem. So much so that consumers equate interactive media more with Apple than Android. This creates a place where readers can find these interactive magazines outside of Google Play. It also is a Samsung-owned app store.

From the perspective of a platform owner, it creates an app inside of Samsung tablets that is exclusive to that platform. Until now, only companies like Zinio, Magzter, Le Kiosk and a few others have had their own digital newsstand apps. That leaves the question of who really initiated this? (I would have asked the question, but was very sure the answer would have come back “this is a partnership.”)

AmazonMusicv-iconIf you are a digital publishing solutions provider do you now approach Samsung and other Android tablet builders with the idea of creating your own Papergarden? Is it really necessary? Can’t you simply launch your own stand-alone app that only accepts magazines built with your platform? Yes, but only the largest platform owners would be able to make this kind of effort succeed and get the tablet owner to mention your app in its new product publicity.

Amazon Music, the app that originally was called Cloud Player, got an update this weekend. The app was renamed when Amazon introduced a new streaming service as part of its Amazon Prime program.

Immediately app users discovered that the new app was buggy – some reporting crashes, others found they could not sign into their accounts. As a result, iOS user reviews are evenly split among 1-star and 5-star reviews.

This update is meant to correct those bugs found in version 3.0.

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