May 28, 2015 Last Updated 7:40 am

Adobe issues critical update to Digital Editions app; Apple said to add Rewards to Apple Pay

Morning Brief: Staff at Gawker Media to hold union certification vote next Wednesday as both the union and management agree to bypass the usual NLRB process

The Adobe Digital Editions app for iOS today received a critical bug fix update. The update brings the app up to version 4.0.3 and also includes, the app description states, “enhanced support for EPUB3 features.”

ADE-updateBut the update, I’m sure, is meant to address complaints users have had since the release of version 4 in January. Users have grown increasingly frustrated with the app.

“It’s clear that Adobe has no interest in supporting or perhaps even acknowledging the existence of this sad little app,” one user wrote last week, who then goes on to accuse Adobe of outsourcing its development. (To be fair, the reviewer, looking at their other reviews, seems to love to write scathing reviews.)

Other comments seem to back up the idea that this app was having problems prior to the update, we’ll see if new reviews are a little more kind.

Adobe Digital Editions, by the way, remains an iPad-only app. We’ll see how that remains true, especially with word that Apple will finally make iBA eBooks work on the iPhone.

While Google updated its YouTube app today there were few other app updates – not unusual for the weeks prior to WWDC. Next will likely see only a trickle of updates as many developers will be anticipating the release of iOS 8.4 early the following week, along with seeing a preview of Apple’s plans for iOS 9 and the next generation of Mac OS X.

The New York Times today reported that Apple will be unveiling a rewards program tied to Apple Pay at WWDC.

apple_pay_550“Apple is preparing to announce details about enhancements to Apple Pay at its software conference next month,” Mike Isaac and Brian Chen reported. “Those include a rewards program for the mobile wallet service, said two people briefed on the product.”

The article, I think, appears to understand how Apple sees its mobile payment system: tied to the iPhone, and therefore another reason consumers will remain loyal to the brand. It’s all about hardware, in other words.

This is consistent with Apple’s goal to boost iPhone sales through incremental feature enhancements that continue to keep iPhone users upgrading every two years.

Oddly, Apple has not been using the same approach for the iPad. The demise of the Newsstand, and the dropping of promotion of books made with Apple’s own software solution, makes the iPad more just another tablet. Even today Apple’s App Store team is pushing eBooks that are now over four years old, such is the level of attention the App Store team bothers to give digital publishers.

The Writers Guild of America East and Gawker Media have set next week Wednesday as the date for a vote to see if staff at digital media company will become unionized.

“The traditional process of union authorization runs through the National Labor Relations Board,” Gawker Media said in a statement. “But by mutual agreement we are bypassing this route in favor of holding our own secret-ballot vote, to be held on Wednesday, June 3, because we believe the cumbersome and often fractious process of unionization is premised on an assumption of complete antagonism between management and labor.”

“Nothing of the kind exists at Gawker Media. We are united in our belief that writers should decide for themselves whether to organize to protect their own rights through collective bargaining, and we hope the labor drive at Gawker Media, culminating in the June 3 election, can serve as a new model for cooperation in digital media,” the statement concludes.

Either Gawker Media is pretty confident that staff will reject the unionization move, or they are betting that being less combative will help lead to a No vote. We’ll see soon enough.

The AP ran a story Tuesday on the highest paid media CEOs and shockingly, I did not make the list this year. I’ll have to have a long talk with myself and see what I can do to make sure I make next year’s list.

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