December 5, 2016 Last Updated 1:26 pm

Major and minor app updates for magazine and platform apps

Updates for Rodale apps including Rodale’s Organic Life, and update for Jamie Magazine that will force readers to redownload issues in order to access the content again

The wave of media app updates continues, with Rodale leading the way with a series of updates for their magazine apps as they move them towards being mobile-first, rather than only being replica editions.
Updated most recently was Rodale’s Organic Life, which received an updates similar to that seen last week for Prevention magazine (see here). But other titles such as Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Bicycling and Runner’s World have now been updated.

All the Rodale apps are produced using the MAZ platform, which produces a PDF replica, and now a text version similar to what one sees in newspaper apps that deliver a PDF replica and text versions of the articles.

The problem with this way of building a digital edition can be see immediately when you toggle back and forth between the text version and the replica version. The text version offers an easy-to-read article that works on both mobile and tablets, but is minus both the advertising and the creative layouts seen in print. The PDF replica offers you the advertising, but often the article layouts are altered because two-page spreads are broken up into two different PDF pages. The article above, for instance, has the dog placed in the middle of a two page spread, with the products on the page placed on the right hand side of the two pages. It must look great in print, but the replica edition splits the picture in two, ruining it. In the text version you miss the entire layout experience.

This is the problem with PDF replicas: they are designed to be cheap and easy solutions – and when you make adjustments in order to make the articles easier to read you end up leaving out the essence of what can make a magazine great, the design work. I assume that publishers who prefer replica editions hate their art directors and aren’t very enthusiastic about magazine publishing, in general – and would rather be bankers or accountants.

Other publication app updates include New York Magazine for bug fixes, and Barron’s which adds Barron’s Next and Advisor Center content, as well as some design and software improvements.

The New York Times this afternoon had released by Apple its update for NYT VR, listing “user experience enhancements” as the reason for the update.

The Harrods app, which incorporates the monthly magazine, has been updated the map and routing areas to reflect the store infrastructure changes.

jamiemag-ipad-tocFinally, Jamie Magazine, the food title of Jamie Oliver, has updated to version 6.0. The update will make the content more readable, the app description says, but will force readers to redownload their issues, something readers often grouse about.

Here is the explanation in the app description:

What’s New in Version 6.0

This update lays the groundwork for some exciting improvements. We are making changes to make the content more readable, swipeable and shareable whatever device you use to read. Because this is a new platform for the app, you’ll need to re-download your content (but don’t worry, you won’t have to buy it again, use the restore purchases functionality). Over the coming weeks we will updating the content in all our apps, so watch out for the update to your favourite magazine!

Other updates to mention:

Apple has issued an update for their own Apple Store app to make the app iOS 10 compliant. That it comes so late after the release of iOS 10 only goes to show what a terrible iOS developer Apple is compared to Google and other competitors.

The eBook platform Scribd has issued a bug fix update that brings their iOS app up to version 6.12.0. Scribd is one of those companies, like Twitter and others, that release updates on a regular schedule – in this case, every two weeks.

The Xfinity Share update from Comcast has some news that users will find alarming.

“We’re saying goodbye to XFINITY Share,” the app description warns.

“As of February 1, 2017, XFINITY Share and any photos or videos stored in the app will no longer be available. Before then, please update to the latest version of XFINITY Share to download any content you want to save.”

A lot of iOS device owners don’t really look at the update info when they update their apps, or have their apps update automatically, and so won’t know this is happening (though I assume Comcast is emailing a notice to those who use the service, right?).

Comcast has also updated the Xfinity Connect app, the one used for managing email and voice messaging. The app description calls it an iOS 10 related bug fix update, though there was an earlier first iOS 10 update back in early November.

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