June 3, 2015 Last Updated 9:18 am

Light iOS app updates as developers await start of WWDC; Apple CEO talks up privacy

The digital publishing platform Mag+ updated its Mag+ Review app, adding support for HTML Text blocks, as well as making bug fixes and other improvements

The start of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is Monday, and it usually impacts the volume of app updates far more than the conferences from other platforms. For instance, while Google has just had its I/O that introduced a range of interesting new products, it did not unveil an updated version of Android that would have developers scrambling to update their apps.

Apple, on the other hand, will likely release an update to iOS 8 (iOS 8.4), and while it would be nice to think that all apps will be uneffected, the track record in this area is not good. But iOS 8.4 should be the last major update to this version of Apple’s mobile operating system until iOS 9 is released in late(ish) September. (That assumes that additional updates to iOS 8 would be for security reasons.)

MagPlusReviewer-iconOne app that received an update yesterday will be of interest to publishers who use the Mag+ digital publishing platform. Mag+ Reviewer, the app used to preview digital publication files, was updated to version 5.5.0.

The company has been releasing updates on a regular schedule for a while, one a month, released early in the month, the last month skipped being November.

What’s New in Version 5.5.0

  • Add support for HTML Text block
  • Fix for disable jump link animations setting on a MIB not being respected
  • Other bug fixes and improvements

If you want to know what it meant by HTML Text block, I would refer you to the release notes for Build 55D221.

Among the references to HTML Text is this:

Support for new block type: HTML Text. This allows you to export text from InDesign as live text rather than as images of text. For more information, see article Saving Text as Live Text.

Amazon, perhaps starting to feel pressure from other online retailers, has begun offering free shipping on some smaller items such as mobile phone accessories and make-up, according to a report by Bloomberg yesterday.

Amazon also will be introducing its own line of private label grocery items as the company begins to approach potential food producer partners. The move is a logical one, as Amazon already sells private label items such as HDMI cables and the like. The company last year introduced its own line of diapers, then withdrew the product after customer complaints about quality.

As Re/code mentions, Amazon’s earlier private label efforts targeted categories where most consumers have few brand preferences, but the new Elements effort will be going against familiar brands that families use every day. One has to believe that there are loyal Amazon buyers in the market who will give their products a try simply based on low prices and convenience of online shopping and instant delivery.


It is common for competing platforms to want to present their new products just before Apple holds an event. This pattern goes all the way back to Microsoft previewing Windows before the launch of the Mac, then launched two years later.

But Google probably got under the skin of Apple CEO Tim Cook when they introduced Google Photos, the company’s free, unlimited photo storage app. When it was announced I speculated that Apple may be thinking of offering unlimited storage, too, and would announce so at WWDC.

But that seems unlikely now after Cook blasted Google for wanting its customers data, and inferred that Google was willing to give away unlimited photo storage to get it. Cook was uncharacteristically blunt in condemning the practice of offering features to customers in exchange for acquiring customer data.

“I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information,” Cook said during a Electronic Privacy Information Event. “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”

“We believe the customer should be in control of their own information. You might like these so-called free services, but we don’t think they’re worth having your email, your search history and now even your family photos data mined and sold off for god knows what advertising purpose. And we think some day, customers will see this for what it is,” Cook said according to a TechCrunch report.

It’s an interesting tact to take considering that Apple, too, has been moving towards cloud storage versus local device storage. But I think what Apple is trying to do is reinforce the notion among many Appel device owners that Apple is a more secure device and a more reliable and honest partner.

I think this is a major shift, as Apple begins to solidify its hold on many corporate customers, and looks to increase its use in enterprise solutions. Back in the early days of the iPhone, Blackberry used the same approach, claiming that while the iPhone may be full of new, interesting features, corporate users would want to continue to use the Blackberry platform for its security. That argument only held as long as customers didn’t see a huge gap between devices – in other words, not long at all.

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