September 18, 2014 Last Updated 9:29 am

iOS 8: Some media apps update to add in exciting new features, others to simply make sure they continue to function

WSJ update incorporates important new iOS 8 features; Amazon adds translation assistance to its Kindle reading app

It has been the craziest week of media app updates ever, as publishers released updates to their mobile apps as Apple released iOS 8 to its device owners.

One year ago, the rush of app updates was half as strong, but in the months to follow, developers were forced to release update after update as they struggled to fix bugs introduced by iOS 7. Few complained publicly, but the whispers revealed a high level of frustration.


Apple’s Handoff feature

This year, many of the updates appear to be taking advantage of interesting new features that may make news apps even more immediate. The Wall Street Journal, for instance, has listed several new features introduced into their universal iOS app. Here is their “What’s New” information:

New for iOS 8
Latest News in Notification Center: A WSJ widget displays the top breaking news stories in the Notification Center.

Interactive Push Notifications: You can now read a breaking news alert story immediately, dismiss the alert, or save the story for later.

Continuity: Readers can seamlessly switch from one Apple device to another – and continue to read the same story.

– Added Latest News: Direct access to the latest news throughout the day on the front page with a single
– Improved Streamlined Navigation: To follow the flow of the newspaper
– Enhanced Multimedia: Live markets data, vibrant photos, image galleries, info graphics and videos
– Optimized Performance: Swipe quickly through pages, with ease, speed and fast loading

Some app updates, such as that for CBC News, hint that some new features may not work as many envisioned. For instance, the app description states “Handoff stories or sections from one iOS device to another (sections must be visible on both devices). Not supported for audio/video clips or photo galleries.”

Apple, which can better control the timing of its own app update releases, issued updates for its iLife suite of apps. The most interesting to me was that for GarageBand which now will allow for the use of MIDI over Bluetooth for wirelessly connecting musical instruments and controllers. The feature has been available through third party apps, but now it is built right into GarageBand.

Other Apple updates, such as for Pages, Numbers and Keynote simply state “support for iOS 8″ and ‘iCloud compatibility.”

Amazon has issued a major update to it Kindle reading app for iOS. The app also takes advantage of new iOS 8 features, but goes far beyond that as Amazon is adding in translation assistance:

What’s New in Version 4.5
Kindle for iOS Version 4.5 makes reading multiple books easier with the handy Kindle Today Widget. Customers also get the ability to copy passages from their books and paste them into text messages, e-mail, and other applications on iOS outside of Kindle. Readers who encounter words or phrases in other languages can quickly comprehend the author’s meaning with a convenient translation feature. This release also includes iOS 8 support, bug fixes, and stability improvements.

Kindle-translate-iPad• Kindle Today Widget (iOS 8 only) – Multi-book readers can now surf between books from anywhere on the device by pulling down the ‘Today’ view and tapping on one of the three titles in the Kindle Widget. They can choose from their most recently opened library titles, like the ‘jump’ function on a TV remote.

• Copy & Paste – Customers asked and we listened. Version 4.5 includes the ability to copy passages from your books and add them to the iOS clipboard for pasting into a text message, e-mail, social media, or other iOS applications outside of Kindle.

• Smart Lookup Translation Card – Authors often include phrases in other languages to add depth or meaning to a story. Readers can now get a full understanding by selecting the word or phrase and viewing the translation card.

• iOS 8 support, bug fixes, and stability improvements.

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