January 14, 2015 Last Updated 11:31 am

Chicagoland Publishing releases major updates for iPad and Android apps for Chicago mag

Update transforms digital editions of the city magazine from replicas to native digital editions using the Mag+ digital publishing platform

The Apple Newsstand app for Chicago Magazine has been updated today, completely changing the app from a hard-to-read replica edition, to a native tablet edition. (The Android app inside Google Play was also updated today.)

ChiMag-New-coverThe new app, which is showing up in reader’s list of updates today, replaces the old app with one that uses the Mag+ digital publishing platform. The new issues are hybrid digital editions: the ads appear as they do in the print edition, and the editorial is reformatted for the iPad.

The new digital editions are a major improvement, and the January issue is very well done.

The move to Mag+ makes perfect sense for Chicagoland Publishing Company LLC, part of Tribune Publishing. The Tribune Company had, for a brief time embraced native digital publishing with the release of new digital magazines for Chicago sports teams. But the effort, first launched in April of 2012, was short lived and the apps were pulled from the Newsstand after only a very short trial run. (See original TNM post on the sports magazines here.)

Producing a hybrid edition is problematic when a magazine opens with two-page spread ads. But if the ad team is on board, new creative can be submitted that is more appropriate for the digital editions. The new publisher of Chicago magazine, Tom Conradi, was recently promoted from the ad side of the business so it is possible he will work with the design team on making the advertising more appropriate for the new app. (See promotion announcement here.)

ChiMag-New-articleThe editorial layouts are fairly simple in that they are designed in page units, but there is a good amount of interactivity in the new article designs, and the designers took advantage of some of the bells and whistles that can be added to a digital edition using the Mag+ platform.

For instance, the feature “Who’s Staying, Who’s Going’ features great graphics and an illustration on the third page which the reader can swipe to reveal more of the image.

The issue download is a bit slow due to the fact that the January issue I downloaded weighs in at 558 MB. But city/regional magazines are generally read at home, so this shouldn’t be much of an issue with most readers.

Single issues of Chicago magazine cost $2.99, while an annual subscription is $9.99.

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