May 15, 2015 Last Updated 8:18 am

Media app updates: UK B2B EMAP updates portfolio of apps; NYT Cooking adds new iPad and iPhone features

The Economist brings its Espress iPhone app up to version 1.0.26; HBO GO gets design changes; Adobe adds new features to its Adobe Brush CC mobile app

We are in a bit of a no-man’s land when it comes to reasons to update a media app: between the introduction of the Apple Watch, which brought a rush of updates to iPhone apps, and WWDC, Apple’s developer conference which will provide a preview of iOS 9 and possible changes to the Apple TV, as well. Because of this, most app updates being released now involve bug fixes and are relatively minor.

RW-iPhone6-380The British B2B publisher has released a series of updates for its publications inside the App Store. These include Retail Week, Nursing Times, Architect’s Journal, as well as either others. All of the updated apps are stand-alone apps (rather than Newsstand apps) and are news apps tied to the property’s websites rather than the print editions (though I’m sure much of the content appears at one point in print).

The updates involve bug fixes and interface changes, and follow a more substantial update that occured a few weeks ago (which I overlooked in the flood of Apple Watch related updates then being released). The updates to the app released at the start of May involved changes to the app’s table of contents and iOS 8 optimization.

The apps are all what used to be called “reader” apps, though I rarely hear that term anymore. These would be apps that a current subscriber would download to use, and then sign into the app using their digital subscription information. Nonsubscribers can not use the app at all as there is no in-app subscription mechanism. A few B2B magazines launched this type of app to make sure all their readers were qualified. A reader would be forced to go to the website to register, or else fill out a reader response card from a copy of the print magazine. Other are publishers of paid circulation B2B magazines that make their readers pay to access any content – this type of app, then, is simply a way to avoid giving Apple their 30 percent cut. That is what EMAP seems to be doing here. Because of this, I cannot see the actual content myself, which I wanted to check out becaues many of the reader reviews inside the UK App Store are complaining about app crashes and other issues.

These stand-alone apps from EMAP also have one other thing in common: they were built using the Pugpig digital publishing platform. The publisher’s sole Newsstand app is called The AJ (The Architect’s Journal) and is an Adobe DPS built app, if I recall correctly. Several recent reader reviews of the app say the app does not work with iOS 8 or on the iPhone 6, though the last update (released on October 28) says it was an iOS 8 compatibility update.

The New York Times released an update for NYT Cooking, is food app that it says has been a hit for the publisher. The app was originally iPad-only at its release last September, but the app added iPhone support with version 2.0.0 in early April. This was necessary because a couple of weeks later the app was updated again, this time to add in Apple Watch support.

NYTCooking-icon-featureToday’s update brings the app up to version 2.2.0 and has a number of fixes and enhancements in it:

What’s New in Version 2.2.0
Cooked and Highly Rated

  • Both iPhone and iPad app users can mark recipes as “Cooked” and rate recipes.
    Recipes you rate as 4 or 5 stars are now discoverable in the “Highly Rated” section of the app. Likewise, recipes you’ve marked as “Cooked” are discoverable in the “Cooked” section.

Additional iPhone Improvements

  • iPhone app users can now view, build and save personal recipe collections
  • iPhone app users can now watch videos on recipes that have them
  • iPhone app users can now see “Recently Viewed” recipes

Notes on Saved Recipe Issues

  • If you’re are having issues seeing recipes in your recipe box, please make sure you are logged in.
  • Also, to ensure your saved recipes will be saved on your next visit, make sure you have a connection to the internet.
  • Still having problems? Please email Thanks!

Oyster updated its digital books app, adding new font options (a larger large and a smaller small), as well as the ability to show or hide your password when signing in (hiding it helps with security, showing it helps to avoid typos when logging in).

NatGeoView-iPhoneThe National Geogrpahic Society has update its iPhone app called Nat Geo View. This is the first update for the app that was launched in early February of this year. Nat Geo View is a new daily digest from the website of National Geographic. The app has gotten mostly 5-star reviews, but the few 1-star reviews are interesting, mostly complaing that they can not enlarge the photos seen in the app. I don’t know if today’s update solves that for them, but I find the app very well designed and among the best of its kind. (The update, verison 1.1, also makes load times faster.)

Other app updates:

  • The Economist has updated its The Economist Espresso iPhone app. The app is similar in goal as the National Geographic app, providing a selection of content each morning for readers. Many readers, though, don’t appreciate the fact that the app provides so little content and see it as simply a way to drive sales to their other products (it is intended to do just that, of course). But overall the reviews have been more positive than negative. Today’s update involves bug fixes and brings the app up to version 1.0.26.
  • Home Box Office has updated its HBO GO iOS app. The app requires users be on iOS 7 or higher, which probably isn’t much of a limitation as iOS device owners are more likely to have the most redent mobile operating system on their device than are Android users. Today’s update unveils “a new enhanced design experience focused on ease of navigation and application usability” as well as fixes some bugs.
  • Amazon has updated its main shopping app, Amazon App. The update involves improvements to address recent changes to Touch ID, as well as to improve to the experience for Apple Watch owners.
  • Finally, Adobe has issued an update for Adobe Brush CC. The mobile app is part of a suite of apps that add pretty cool new tools for digital designers. The update brings the app up to version 1.2 and adds live color masking, a streamlined UI for capturing, isolating and saving brushes the user makes faster, the ability to create new brushes from the images one has save in their Creative Cloud library, as well as bug fixes.

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