December 17, 2014 Last Updated 3:04 pm

New look: Harrods Magazine gets new look, fixes bugs with update

App for iconic department store has come a long way from its launch in early 2012, improving its library and adding iPhone support

For whatever reason, Harrods Magazine showed up in my iTunes app folder today with an update. The app description inside iTunes, though, show the update was issued a month ago, so I’m still scratching my head about this one.

Harrods-coverThe digital magazine app for the iconic London department store goes all the way back to 2012, with TNM’s first look at the app publishing on April 2, 2012. (If you want to have a short laugh, you should check out the walk-through video from the first digital edition, complete with fake old paper background.)

The Apple Newsstand app recently won a DMA 2014 award, something I wouldn’t normally mention as I think encouraging award programs is to be avoided. But this app definitely deserves recognition as an excellent app, and with changes that have occurred since its original launch, the app and digital edition are even better today.

One of the elements of the app I really love is that the app’s library tells the reader how big the digital editions are. The Christmas Special, for instance, is 192 MB in size, smaller than the regular issues that generally run somewhere around 300 MB in size.

Harrods-libraryI wish the library worked in landscape, but keeping it in portrait is a good reminder to readers that this will be the orientation used for the digital issues.

But video inside the app plays in landscape. In fact, a reader very familiar with the way the digital editions work might see a video at the top of a story and immediately turn their iPad to landscape to play the video. As the app works with the iPhone, this is especially important.

The app has been updated 14 times since its original launch. Version 3.1 introduced iPhone support, with the latest version (3.4) dealing with making the app iOS 8 compliant (there had been a few complaints about the app’s performance under iOS 8 before this update).

As the app is for a store, it is, as you would expect, free to download and access the digital issues. For a publisher looking for apps to show their art director for inspiration, the Harrods Magazine app would be one of my first choices.

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