September 3, 2014 Last Updated 8:08 am

App updates: Microsoft app update introduces monthly subscriptions; NYT tackles hard to diagnose bug in iPad app

AOL update targets owners of the original iPad, and the widely downloaded Yellow Pages app adds more business photos and the ability to rate them

Microsoft was very late in releasing app version of its Office software for iOS devices, but once it did the general impression is that they are good apps. But were they too late? Did Microsoft lose a chance to keep Word and Excel uses loyal, or are Apple’s alternatives now the standard on the iPad and iPhone?

In an attempt to get iOS device owners to use their software on their devices Microsoft has updated their Office apps to add in monthly subscription options. Now an iPad owner, for instance, can buy Office 365 Personal at $6.99 per month and Office 365 Home at $9.99 per month.

Of course, as it is Microsoft, they don’t make it easy to understand the options. What the hell is “Office 365 Personal” and “Office 365 Home”? Aren’t the apps simply Word, Excel and PowerPoint? To help out, Microsoft has built a table to help explain the differences.


All this seems needlessly complicated‚Ķ but whatever. I’m sure the monthly options will be attractive to the occasional user, or the one who never does business on their iPad but one day finds themselves needing to edit a document.

The New York Times issued an update to NYTImes for iPad that the paper hopes squashes a bug that has been preventing the app from updating. The developers used the app description to say that finding and fixing the bug was a challenge.

“Fixed a bug that may be causing the app to stop updating for some readers. This has been a difficult problem to diagnose and we appreciate your patience,” the paper said in the app description.

Most developers consider the original iPad no longer worth supporting, so it was a bit unusual to find that the reason for the update for Amazon’s app for video, Amazon Instant Video, mentions that the bug fix is for offline playback on the iPad 1 (the original iPad). Most developers simply tell iPad 1 users that it would be a good idea to upgrade their devices.

My own original iPad was handed down to Dean Brierly, the editor of Black & White magazine, and the author of our first eBook, A Darker Sun. I wonder how it is doing? I would assume it would be running pretty slow under iOS 7. Do you have an original iPad that you are still using?

AOL updated its main iOS app just a couple of weeks ago and the response was pretty negative. The update eliminated landscape orientation and basically didn’t work, according to user reviews.

Among the complaints were the usual ones about crashes, as well as a complain about too many “Kardashian stories” and “my spam mail went way up with this.”

The new update brings back landscape and probably fixes a few bugs, as well.

YP-icon-smAvantar’s Yellow Pages app received a big update this morning. With the rise of digital devices and digital publishing, there would seem to be no reason for those bulky printed business directories.

But while one might assume that the “yellow pages” would work best on mobile devices, the app rarely gets much attention from media reporters. But Avantar’s Yellow Pages app has over 60,000 ratings inside of the App Store, with over 22K 5-star reviews, and 16K 1-star reviews. In other words, a lot of iOS device owners consider the app one of those essential app downloads.

Today’s app update is all about business photos. The update, which brings the app up to version 7.3.0, brings in more business photos and allows users to rate the photos.

The app does more than just list businesses. The iOS app gives users turn-by-turn navigation from within the app and allows for voice searches. The app also emphasizes things like movie listings, making it more useful for those traveling.

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