October 27, 2015 Last Updated 2:03 pm

Kindle and Glose eBook reading app updates; Apple to release its Q4 earnings this afternoon

Morning Brief: The Washington Post iOS app update introduces 3D Touch feature, allowing quick access to the top stories; La Presse+ app updates for two Canadian newspaper apps

The fourth quarter and year-end earnings for Apple will be released after the bell today. While not as important as Q1 (holiday season), this report may contain the first real hard number on Apple Watch sales. The report will also include the first month of sales for the iPhone 6s.

AppleTV-300Most observers expect iPad sales to once again come in below the same quarter last year, a trend that likely won’t be reversed by the launch of the iPad Pro next month.

Apple CEO may include a word about Apple TV orders in the conference call that follows the release of the earnings statement. Apple began taking orders yesterday, with shipments beginning at the end of the week. A few new reviews have appeared, but a few have also been pulled. If you are wondering why, it may be that the devices being used for the reviews were developer kit devices and any screenshots taken would be a violation of developer guidelines – one of the reasons TNM has been hesitant to write a more in-depth review of the new device.

For developers looking to launch apps for the new Apple TV, one thing to remember is that the new device and the older models of the Apple TV will be on separate operating systems. This means that the TV app store will only launch on the new model, with previous generations of the Apple TV still only offering a limited number of channels, which leads to the question of how much longer Apple will choose to offer the current Apple TV (priced now at $69) and will there be confusion in the marketplace as customers buy one version of the Apple TV expecting to be able to play games, only to find out that this is limited to the new Apple TV?

Two iOS book reading apps were updated in the past 48 hours: Amazon issued a minor update for its Kindle app which fixes an issue involving rotating books on the iPad.

Glose, the eBook platform that concentrates on social networking, has issued a major update that takes advantage of new iOS features:

What’s New in Version 1.8
NEXT-LEVEL READING EXPERIENCE1. Customize and share beautiful quote cards to spread your inspiration.We created the ultimate quote generator! When you read a book: touch the sentence or paragraph that inspires you, then generate a custom quote card to share it on social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Messenger, Whatsapp and more. Choose your favorite background to illustrate the quote (the book cover? A photo of yours?) or go for one of our beautiful photos or backgrounds. It makes sharing quotes cool, fun, and beautiful.2. Reading in 3D on iPhone 6 and 6S!Glose is the only place where you can interact with any sentence or paragraph you read, with one simple touch. We invented “one touch text highlighting”, so you can imagine we are super excited by the potential of 3D Touch! This is what you can do now to make your experience of Glose better with 3D Touch :
– Sensual quote highlighting! : On iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S force touch the sentence you like to highlight it and automatically post it to your profile. One magic touch and the sentence that inspires you is saved forever in the cloud. On other devices, use the long tap to do the same. – Sensual navigation : Force-touch the Glose app icon from your homescreen to open the book you are reading or access the bookstore directly. Preview books and users as well. Once in the app: force touch a book cover to know everything about the book. It’s faster and easier than ever.

3. Your Reading experience Enhanced : multi-tasking on iPad.

We support the new iPad’s multitasking split view feature, so you can use Glose alongside any other application (like Safari). If you read a book and have Safari open alongside for references and searches on the text, you can. It’s a perfect solution to study, work, or engage with other content that complements your book.

4. An Easier way to navigate in Books :

– Where am I? We now show you a green progression bar inside every chapter you read to let you know how far you are.
– What am I looking for? Use Spotlight to search books directly from an iOS Search. You don’t even need to open the app : go to your iPhone or iPad’s search engine and you will find all our half-million titles there.
– Who am I? That we don’t know really, but what we know is that the more you read the more you will learn about yourself. (Next level of cheesiness – but you know it’s true).

5. Reading made beautiful :
We added a lot of cool animations and smooth transitions. We fixed bugs too, even though we like butterflies better. And we love you too.

Flipboard has also issued an update that takes a few bugs.

Newspaper app updates:

WaPo-102715The Washington Post has updated its new news app (simply called The Washington Post) and has finally added push notifications. I assumed they were there at launch, but I guess not.

The app also adds some 3D touch support. This is where readers, when using a new iPhone 6s, can press the screen a bit harder to initiate an action other than just “open”. Here, the Post is using the feature to view top stories simply by pressing on the app icon – rather than this action simply launching the app, 3D touch allows the app to give readers the top stories instantly, a nice way to use the new feature.

The La Press+ platform has also released minor app updates for the two publications using the digital newspaper platform: La Presse+ and Star Touch by Toronto Star.

CityRoom-440Andy Newman of The New York Times announced yesterday that the paper’s City Room blog will be shuttered after seven years. The blog is one of only a handful left on the paper’s website, as the paper has seen the blog format as less relevant to the way the paper is currently handling breaking news.

One reason for the end of City Room is that as the Times have moved to a newer web publishing platform, the old blogs have remained on their original platform, “eventually we realized they were creating a lot of extra work,” Newman said.

While shuttering the old blogs makes some sense, at least from a production standpoint, it points to an area that NYT has been especially weak: creating new publishing brands. The concentration has very much been on extending the NYT brand name, and this will continue as its strategy is to increase international readership of the Times.

But I think this strategy severely limits growth, and is ultimately self-defeating. The Times, for instance, had a great opportunity to expand on the Five Thirty Eight brand after the last Presidential election, but instead Nate Silver walked – a decision that I think was not to the advantage of either party.

The model that should be followed is likely Vox Media which has managed to create or acquire multiple brands such as its SB Nation sports blogs, The Verge, and the rest, while also having its tech and sales be handled centrally. This allows for new brands to be developed, while costs are controlled.

As I said five years ago, and still believe today, traditional media properties should be digital as a way to be serial launchers:

TNM, February 2010: “…which strategy contains more risk? One that is dependent on a turnaround in the economy and a return to print? or one that bets on continued web and mobile media growth and involves low costs?”

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