April 4, 2016 Last Updated 6:45 am

Baseball season gets underway, but streaming issues may continue to dog app viewing

Morning Brief: Apple issues iOS 9.3.1 update, as well as update to iTunes Connect app that then causes user crashes, as well as security update for iBooks Author app for the Mac

The baseball season got under way on Sunday and for Major League Baseball that meant a full day that the sport was featured on television with all three Opening Day games on ESPN or ESPN2.

MLB.com At Bat app iPadBut today, when most of the other teams that did not open their season on Sunday get under way, the streaming apps will start becoming more important. MLB.com At Bat apps for mobile devices and TV box top devices will be the most important app this summer, as it has been for a few years now.

The mobile app was just updated last week for the regular season, and to be honest, the update scares the hell out of me:

What’s New in Version 9.1.0
• It’s time – welcome to the 2016 Major League Baseball regular season
• Introducing 60fps video for unmatched high quality streaming of select live MLB.TV broadcasts and highlight clips (iPhone 6+ and select iPads only, At Bat Premium subscription required)
• App design improvement, including News section (landscape) and Gameday pitch tracking
• New notifications for Cut4’s offbeat short-form content
• General improvements

What is there to be scared of, you might wonder. Well, it is that bump up in quality that worries me. You see, no matter who good your broadband connection might be – and mine is extremely good – the quality of the steam is only as good as what is delivered by the host.

On Saturday, for instance, I watched – or tried to watch – the game between the Giants and A’s from Oakland. But after only a few minutes I stopped watching in frustration of streams that kept buffering. I tried both the new Apple TV app, which MLB.com At Bat introduced recently, as well as the older Roku app. No matter, the game was unwatchable.

Had it been the regular season and I really cared about the game, I might have switched again to one of the mobile apps.

Was this the problem of the TV apps? Comcast? the Apple TV or Roku? or the broadcast coming from Oakland (which I always find bad)? Who knows, and that’s the problem with streaming TV, there are so many places where things can go bad and ruin the viewing experience.

iOS-update931Apple releases an update to its mobile operating system late last week. iOS 9.3.1 is designed to fix a bug that has bothered many iOS device owners. The bug causes apps to become unresponsive after tapping links in Safgari and other apps.

One could, for the umpteenth time, mention that Apple software continues to be released without thorough testing, but why bother, Apple is above criticism it seems.

Apple also issued an update for iBooks Author, which I am sure at first had eBook designers excited to see. The rarely updated software, though, was only brought up to version 2.4.1 for a security update.

Apple also updated its iTunes Connect mobile app. The update brings the app up to version 3.2 and says that it now “gives you access to Resolution Center, where you can review and respond to messages from App Review as well as easily forward them to members of your team.” That sounds great, but I doubt that Apple means that the App Store team will actually respond to any communications through the app – after all, we are on year three of the disfunction of the Newsstand/Magazines & Newspapers category breakdown with no resolution on the horizon.

Besides, the update was released and the first user reviews all point to an issue where the app crashes. All early ratings are negative, so how long before the App Store team notices and does something?

Other media app updates:

Hearst magazines has issued bug fix updates for many of its digital edition apps such as Esquire and Cosmopolitan.

Gannett has issued a performance based update for USA Today for iPad.

Another iPad app, The Economist for iPad, also was updated for bug fixes. The Economist also updated its mobile app The Economist Espresso, also for bugs.

CBC News issued an update for its mobile app related to today’s election in Saskatchewan.

Two eBook reader platforms have updated their mobile apps for performance issues: Amazon’s Kindle app and the social eBook reader Glose.

The New York Times has issued an update for its virtual reality mobile app NYT VR, adding the ability to stream the videos.

What’s New in Version 1.6
It’s now possible to stream videos! You can still choose to download the video for viewing later if you like.Below are some tips for the best Cardboard viewing experience. If you have more tips to share or need help, please email NYTVR@nytimes.com.

– Make sure the center of the screen is aligned with the center of the viewer. It may be necessary to adjust your phone once you’re looking through the viewer to get the alignment just right.

– If the video looks blurry, your phone may be tilted in the viewer. Trying adjusting your phone so it’s aligned flat against the Cardboard. If you have a case on your phone, it may help to remove it.

– If you’re experiencing double vision and realigning your phone doesn’t resolve it, you may need to turn off the zoom setting on your device. To do this on an iPhone 6, go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Display Zoom > View > Standard. To do this on an iPhone 5, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom.

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