App updates include new digital magazine Digitalist and SWISS Universe, and platform updates
Morning Brief: The digital magazine from The Huffington Post, and Gannett’s iPad app for USA Today, get updates to fix bugs and add reading features
The last day of the week, that ends the last full week of August, featured a series of media app updates. The next big rush of updates will likely come following the release of iOS 9, likely near September 16 if Apple follows its release pattern.
Three weeks ago TNM looked at two new digital magazine releases, Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly, which uses the Mag+ digital publishing platform, and SWISS Universe, which uses the Adobe Digital Publishing Solution (see original TNM post here). Both apps were updated today: Digitalist to add support for the iPhone 5, 6, & 6 Plus, and SWISS Universe for minor bug fixes.
Both digital magazines are native – that is, designed for enjoyable reading on digital devices, but take very different approaches. Digitalist looks more like a traditional magazine, and like a typical native digital magazine. While SWISS Universe is using the approach being espoused by Adobe and others of creating a more app-like look where the content can be constantly updated (but often is not).
Both approaches work, in my opinion, and deliver excellent reading experiences.
Two other media entities that have updated their iOS apps today include The Huffington Post which has updated its Newsstand app called simply Huffington. The app uses Joomag to build their app, which must have been hard since I could never get a hold of anyone at the company, which is why they were not included in TNM’s Guide to Digital Publishing Platforms. The update for Huffington now allows readers to pinch-to-zoom the pages to make reading a tad easier. It’s not really necessary as the pages are designed for digital device reading, but I suppose it may come in handy if reading on an iPhone (maybe).
Gannett has updated its USA Today for iPad app, which remains a stand-alone app, so won’t be effected by the changes to the Newsstand.
The update says simply bug fixes, so it is unknown what is effected. But the first review following complains that the iPad version won’t open, but the app is great on the iPhone. That would be rather odd as the app is only for the iPad (and I found that it opens with no problems).
That review is a reminder that paying attention to reader reviews inside iTunes is important, but can’t always be relied on for accurate feedback about the app.
Two platforms updated their apps today.
PressReader, formerly known as NewspaperDirect, has updated its app allowing users to create an account by signing into their social media accounts, Twitter, Facebook or Google+. The app then allows you to get a stream of news for free, as well as access the newspapers and magazines that use their service.
NewspaperDirect was originally a print-on-demand service intended to allow travelers access to their favorite newspaper on their road. In 2005, the company introduced a web kiosk at PressDisplay.com. Late in 2013 it rebranded itself as PressReader, its online and app solution.
The eBook platform Scribd has updated its iOS app, and improved its download process, allowing readers to be notified when a book has finished downloading. As books generally download quickly, this seems a bit unnecessary, but I suppose it might be a nice feature for some large books. The update also now also allows the reader to view book synopsis pages in landscape mode on an iPad, and adds an ‘About Book’ option to the reader.
It was an up day for stocks in Asia, with the Shanghai exchange up nearly 5 percent. But stocks in Europe have not followed through and are generally lower – especially in Italy where the FTSE Italia is down 290 points, or 1.2 percent.
Dow futures point to a lower open on Wall Street, as well. This closes a rollercoaster week which saw the Dow open at 16,809, fall to 15,651, before rising yesterday to 16,560.