August 23, 2017 Last Updated 10:56 am

The Atlantic relaunches redesigned iOS app, partnering with NYC studio Lickability

Rather than using a third party vendor’s digital publishing platform, the new app was developed ‘using the latest available technologies, exclusively writing it in Swift 3.1 with iOS 10 APIs,’ the developer said

As many longtime TNM readers know, the first few years of this website were primarily dedicated to following the launches of media apps for the iPad (and iPhone) into Apple’s App Store, and particularly the Newsstand. New launches have slowed to a trickle, and the Newsstand is long gone. Its replacement really isn’t Apple News, though some make that mistake, but the Magazines & Newspapers category.

Of course, there are other categories a media company and their developers could choose. The News category is the primary one, but many trade publications prefer the Business category, and others pick an interest category like Music or Food & Drink, if appropriate.

The Atlantic iPad

The Atlantic‘s universal iOS app resides in the News category, and today it received a major redesign and relaunch.

Working with the New York app development studio Lickability, which also works with The New York Times, the new app offers a mobile-friendly version of the magazine’s website content, as well as access to the digital versions of the print magazine. Subscriptions can be purchased in the app for $3.99/month or $23.99/year. Knowing that smart digital magazine buyers don’t buy individual issues when a monthly option is available, The Atlantic has wisely eliminated that option.

The new app is iOS 11 ready, according to Lickability.

“In April of this year, we visited The Atlantic’s offices in Washington, D.C. to spend some time with their fantastic team and collaborate on ideas for the new version,” said Brian Capps, partner at the studio. “During this process, we helped refine an app design that we believe is simple to use and understand while reflecting the sensibilities and history of the publication. The design should also feel right at home when iOS 11 launches, adapting the large title styles of the upcoming operating system.”

It is rare these days to see magazine or newspaper publishers approach an app developer for their digital edition apps, most simply using a digital publishing platform. But this app was built using Apple’s Swift.

“We developed this version of The Atlantic using the latest available technologies, exclusively writing it in Swift 3.1 with iOS 10 APIs,” Capps said on the company’s blog. “The app uses stack views, Auto Layout, adaptivity APIs, and Dynamic Type, allowing readers to set their own size for the app or use the system-wide settings. It is also ready for multitasking, with customized layouts on iPad for each size of the app. Finally, we adhered to programming best practices such as the single responsibility principle and separation of concerns, with small, focused types, and made use of view models for each view in the application. These techniques provide a solid foundation for continuing to iterate on the product to add exciting features and fix troublesome issues.”

(The Atlantic launched its first app for the iPad in 2010, through a third party vendor, then an app under its own developer account a few months later. This new app ends up being version 5.0.)

The new app comes at a good time because under editor Jeffrey Goldberg, who joined The Atlantic in October of 2016, the magazine has been killing it. Since his hiring, the magazine has added some pretty heavyweight talent: McKay Coppins came over from BuzzFeed, Julia Ioffe, James Fallows opened the London bureau, John Swansburg, etc.

The Atlantic appThe big news, though, has been that The Atlantic was to be acquired by Laurene Powell Jobs’s organization Emerson Collective.

The most current owner, David G. Bradley, acquired The Atlantic from Mort Zuckerman in 1999 and began to rebuild its editorial staff. Bradley knew the magazine needed a new owner eventually went was able to find one in Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs.

The Atlantic’s long-term future has been on my mind for the last two years. As Katherine’s and my three sons reached majority, we came to understand that we did not have a next generation interested in media. Katherine and I would need to look farther afield,” Bradley said in his staff memo.

“It was a friend of many of us here, Leon Wieseltier, who first put me onto the possibility that Laurene might come to love The Atlantic as I have. For its part, Emerson Collective had begun to invest in serious journalism for its own sake. And, as to Laurene personally, Leon said, “If she were to take an interest in The Atlantic, it would be for all the right reasons.’”

The Atlantic, it should be noted, has bucked the circulation trend many titles have experienced, with its print subscriptions up, and its digital issues numbers also growing. Its rate base is at 450,000, above where it was a decade ago (how many titles can say that?), its latest publisher’s statement shows total circulation at 572,164.

Yes, The Atlantic has been making a lot of right moves, this new app appears to be another.

Here is the magazine’s own announcement for its new app:


Washington, D.C. — August 23, 2017The Atlantic has launched a premium iOS app that represents a new and improved way of experiencing its journalism on the go, with greater access to current and archived writing, video, and photos. The Atlantic partnered exclusively with Lickability, a leading New York app development studio, on a design that prioritizes user experience, ease of navigation, and seamless offline reading. The app, which is customized for iPhone and iPad, is available for download today on the App Store.

The app will be a paid content experience and is free for The Atlantic’s digital and print subscribers. App-only subscriptions can be purchased in the app for $3.99/month or $23.99/year. The new app features a significantly optimized interface, with faster and easier access to the latest articles and videos from The Atlantic, plus full digital issues of the monthly print magazine.

Among the new and improved features:

  • Optimal User Experience: The new app is curated directly from TheAtlantic.com homepage, and prioritizes the latest, most popular, and featured reporting. The bookmark feature enables offline reading and reading position is automatically saved mid-article, creating an effortless experience from sidewalk to subway to airplane.

  • Ad-Free Reading: The Atlantic’s new app will be entirely free of advertising making for uninterrupted reading, all the time.

  • Greater Access to the Magazine: The app gives subscribers more mobile access to The Atlantic magazine’s archives, with every print issue dating back to 2004 available in the app.

The Atlantic launched a popular digital-only subscription earlier this year, as it grows premium opportunities for subscribers and more ways to engage with audiences. The Atlantic is experiencing record print magazine subscriptions — reaching the most subscribers since the early 2000s — and surging digital audience.

The app can be downloaded from the App store today. For more information on The Atlantic’s subscription options, visit: www.theatlantic.com/subscribe.

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