December 22, 2014 Last Updated 8:46 am

Last group of digital publishing app updates for 2014 trickle into the Apple App Store

iTunes Connect shut down last week, so the number of new or updated apps that appear will decline as the holiday break approaches

The holidays start in earnest for most people when offices shutdown for Christmas, and often remain closed through New Years. But for developers and many digital publishers, the holidays unofficially begin when Apple shuts down iTunes Connect.

ciel-espace-cover-featureThe App Review team is obviously still working as they are releasing new and updated apps. Today’s group includes an updated CBC News which now features push alerts delivered to the iPhone or iPad owners Notifications Center.

Ciel et Espace from Association Française d’Astronomie was updated. This is the replica edition of the French language magazine. The same institution recently released an English language, native tablet edition called First Light Magazine which uses the Aquafadas digital publishing platform (see original TNM post here).

Both Google and Twitter released bug fix updates. Google’s update refers to crashes that some users have been experiencing. But the newest update, dated December 19 is also getting user complaints as there are more 1-star reviews than 5-star with the latest version.

screen568x568The Weather Channel also updated its iOS apps recently for bug fixes, just in time for some rough weather the east coast is expecting for Christmas.

Finally, Time Inc. has released an update for Travel + Leisure. The update adds iPhone support, but the screenshots used in the app description makes one wonder why they would do this as the pages are clearly not designed for iPhone reading.

This is a trend we’ve seen throughout 2014 as digital editions from major magazine publishers that were originally designed exclusively for the iPad and been updated to add iPhone support. But in the vast majority of cases, the publishers have not designed new iPhone editions but have simply ported over the tablet editions to the iPhone – essentially making them replica editions of the tablet edition.

One of the reasons this strategy seems so odd is that, as smartphones have gotten larger, it would seem to make sense to create native editions for this larger smartphones. Creating a mobile edition as easy to read as that from the British Journal of Photography, which uses the Mag+ platform, or else creating “The Magazine” styled smartphone editions using a platform such as TypeEngine or others seems more reader-friendly than the iPhone conversions we are seeing being produced.

iTunes-error-message-1Final note: I’ve been getting a huge number of error messages this morning come from Apple. iTunes keeps telling me the App Store is not available, or that an app is no longer in the U.S. App Store, when it clearly is. I’ve even getting error messages from the online store. Of course, it is very early in the morning in Cupertino and the Apple team may not be available to fix the issues right now. In any case, if you are also encountering issues my advice is to just stick with it as most times the errors eventually go away and you are able to access the app you want to update or download.

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