June 25, 2015 Last Updated 10:59 am

‘Newsweek for iPad’ goes away, now it’s ‘Newsweek Magazine’ as iPhone support added in update

App has had problems in the past, mostly caused by subscription fulfillment glitches, but current Adobe DPS built app delivers well-designed native digital editions

The IBT owned weekly Newsweek has received an update and a name change. The app was formerly named Newsweek for iPad, but today’s update brings in iPhone support, and so the new name for the Apple Newsstand app is simply Newsweek Magazine.

Newsweek-iPhone-190The update is the first for the app since the release of iOS 8 which brought in a new look. That was version 5.0 – so, obviously, this update is version 5.1 for this Adobe DPS built app.

Looking at reader reviews, the Newsweek app has had serious problems. Of the more than 3,800 written reviews, over 60 percent of them are 1-star. The problem readers have complained most about involve the app not recognizing their subscription. With the October update many readers said that they no longer had access to their back issues, though at least one reader noted that tapping “Restore All Purchases” solved their issues.

That no update has come in eight months says that either the developers did not see the problem, or that readers were confused with the updated app. Some also complained of a lack of landscape reading, and others of confusing navigation, but mostly readers were simply frustrated that they could not access issues.

This points to a real problem with digital editions: readers remain unfamiliar with native digital publishing standards. The reason for this is that so many of the major publishers have stuck with PDF replicas so readers get used to simple page navigation, as well having to don their reading glasses to see the miniscule type.

So, what should a publisher do? The usual response is that the reader knows best and will tell you their preferences. But with new publishing mediums those responses are often contradictory.

“In under two years, we’ve entirely revamped Newsweek’s website, relaunched the magazine in print and have now turned our attention to an enhanced mobile experience. Larger smartphones allow consumers to experience more on their phones, making this the perfect time to release the iPhone app.” – Etienne Uzac, CEO and Co-Founder of IBT Media.

This is where digital publishers need to lead. We know that many readers still prefer print, and a publishers needs to be comfortable with the fact that some readers will complain about their digital editions and return to the print edition. But where are readers going, especially younger readers? To digital devices, and especially mobile.

To reach this reading segment, one that is seeing growth, one will need to create digital editions that work for them. That is why making sure one has a readable mobile edition is increasingly important – and why this update should be received positively by many of these readers.

Still, digital publishers should also recognize where the trouble areas remain, and subscription fulfillment tops the list for many magazines.

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