June 5, 2017 Last Updated 2:11 pm

Apple WWDC keynote: Recap for digital publishers

A redesigned App Store was previewed, but whether the new design will include internal fixes such to the subcategories for Magazines & Newspapers is unknown right now

The WWDC keynote today jammed a lot of information into one event, including new Mac hardware, as well as the usual updates to iOS, macOS and watchOS. As usual, the tech websites will have all the details, so I will concentrate on just a couple of areas: the App Store, translation, and a few other tidbits.

After talking about watchOS, macOS and hardware, and then iOS 11, Apple unveiled a new App Store redesign.

First of all, what was previewed was what the App Store will look like on the iPhone, not necessarily on the desktop or iPad.

What is promised is three new tabs for Today, Games and Apps.

Phil Schiller promoted the idea of the Today section, where new apps will be found, as some sort of new thing. But it was a bizarre claim to make since the App Store originally featured the newest app right up front. In fact, developers, in the early days, knew that once their apps launched, that they had a day or two where there apps would be seen on the front page of the App Store category they had chosen.

In the subcategories in Magazines & Newspapers there remains a New section for apps. But for the past more than three years this feature has been broken, and Apple has stubbornly refused to fix it.

You can see what a mess the subcategories are by looking at right. The top area where magazine or newspapers titles are supposed to be promoted show nothing by blue boxes. Below this area there is the New section which does not show new apps at all, but merely the apps in alphabetical order.

Will Apple fix this, will the new App Store improve on this mess that existed for so long? We don’t know. But let me frank, Apple has stolen thousands of dollars from publishers by leaving their App Store in this broken state. The fact that publishers, and their useless trade associations, have not raised a stink over this, is unforgivable. Apple, in essence, teamed up with publishers to kill off the digital edition app.

My fear is that the new App Store is merely a newly designed App Store for iOS 11. What is needed is an all new iTunes for Mac, with a new store inside it.

Another new feature that sounds interesting to me was translation within Messages. Apple lost a real opportunity by not getting serious about translation back in 2010 when it launched the iPad.

As we all know, Apple only occasionally gets serious about its digital publishing platforms. Remember, iWeb? What about iBooks Author (once again there was nothing about iBA in the keynote presentation).

But Apple may be rethinking its attitude towards translation. Google Translate is the standard both on desktop and mobile, with Google’s iOS app filling in a very big gap. So, Apple’s desire to translation a part of Messages is at least a start.

The new iMacs and new iPad Pro looks like very nice upgrades in hardware, though design remains locked in time. (Apple is becoming like General Motors, very hesitant to ever change its basic designs.) For Mac users in need of a new desktop or laptop, the new offerings should be enough to make consumers pull out their wallets. Maybe the new iPad will attract buyers, as well — though that seems like a tougher task.

Finally, with all new software previewed at a WWDC keynote, many of the questions developers have begin to be answered once they get their hands on the beta versions, which are available today.

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