June 8, 2015 Last Updated 10:14 am

iOS 8.4 said to be released today, bringing important iBooks changes to the iPhone

Morning Brief: Fairfax Media gets caught up in photo archive mess as Arkansas company goes belly up before delivering scans; problems persist with Washington Post iPad app

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference begins today with the traditional keynote address where the company previews new Mac and iOS software that will be released in the fall, and then also unveils new or updated products. This year’s event, if reports are true, will be a snooze as Apple doesn’t appear ready to introduce a new Apple TV or TV subscription service, and any new music service will likely need to be tested and lived with before one can determine if is competitive with services such as Spotify.

iBA-iconBut Apple is reportedly ready to introduce an update to iOS, iOS 8.4, which will feel minor to many, but should contain iPhone support for iBooks Author created eBooks – that’s a big deal for those authors and publishers who use the platform (including TNM).

The keynote starts at 10am PST (1pm ET) and will be live streamed by Apple.

Australia’s Fairfax Media, like many newspaper companies, is facing tough times and on the look out for ways to cut costs, while also continuing to update the company’s digital media efforts. One idea, ABC in Australia reports, was to enter into a deal with a firm from Arkansas, Rogers Photo Archive.

The deal was simple enough; Fairfax, the publisher of the Sydney Morning Herald and other newspapers, would have the Arkansas firm digitize their archive of photos which goes back to the 19th century, in exchange for allowing Rogers to sell the original photos once the work was done. Good deal, they thought, as it would save them millions of dollars in labor, while Rogers would make money selling the old photos through places like eBay.

Rogershouse-320But just months after the deal was signed in 2013 the FBI raided the Little Rock firm as part of its investigation into sports memorabilia fraud. “Unfortunately for Fairfax, the timing for their deal was right ahead of the FBI publicly opening their probe into the business affairs and it all came tumbling down,” said Arkansas Business senior editor George Waldon.

Rogers Photo Archive has, in the past, bought the photo archives of U.S. newspapers, purchasing the archives of the McClatchy chain, for instance. The deal was always the same: Rogers digitizes the photos inexchange for the rights to sell the original works after delivering digital versions. In 2012, the company said it made $120,000 a week selling materials through eBay.

The firm, owned by John Rogers, is now in receivership and the fate of the Fairfax archives in doubt. As for Rogers, he was described as “a master. You read about these kind of people. He could talk you into buying the Brooklyn Bridge.”

Roger’s home is currently on the market, listed at $2.2 million.

The Washington Post for iPad was updated this weekend in an attempt to fix issues with the app introduced with prior updates. The app description simply says “Crash fix”, but the app has been getting hammered by users inside iTunes since at least early April.

WaPo-iPadThe problem may be tied to older iPads, or older versions of iOS. One update mentions a problem with iOS 7.

But the app has other problems, as well. For instance, this morning, before updating, I opened the app and was presented with a giant block of black. I don’t know if this was supposed to be an ad which wasn’t being delivered, or a problem with the app. It looked to me like an editorial block was missing.

I updated the app and the same problem remained. This is the kind of thing that drives readers crazy and can cause digital edition sales to fall over time. It is hard enough to keep monthly subscribers from cancelling their subscription after being notified by Apple about a renewal coming up, but when the app stops working properly it only reinforces the idea that maybe paying the publisher each month for access to a malfunctioning app is a bad idea.

Comments are closed.