Monday, August 2, 2010

Wired releases iPad app update for August issue, subscription option still missing; iPad apps offer more engagement than mobile apps according to Mobclix

The folks who rate apps inside the iTunes app store are a tough crowd. As an example, the first Wired magazine app was criticized for its huge download size and its fairly simply animation and video solutions.
Now the Condé Nast magazine has issued an app update that changes the way issue are delivered to iPad owners. The app is only a shell, less than a megabyte in size, as compared to the 576 megs that first app weighed in at. (Did they do this in July, as well?)

The old app cost you $4.99 to download. The new app is free, but now the user is required to buy the issues from within the app. Issues now cost $3.99 but that hasn't stopped some from complaining about even this price.
Other reviewers have also complained about having to download a new app, thinking that they will have to do this for every issue. But the new app may allow for archiving issues -- we'll know when September rolls around. Wired still is not using a subscription mechanism inside its app as publishers continue to work out the consumer data issues with Apple.

The iPad version of the magazine continues to offer interactive advertising such as Showtime's ad for Weeds which includes a preview of the first episode. It would be hard for a print rep to argue that a full page print ad in a magazine that didn't offer an iPad edition would offer more value than what Wired is currently offering. But not all the ads are interactive, and they do not have to be. The full page ad from the Gap, for instance, simply offers the reader the same ad in portrait as landscape, just with a different model and a layout adjustment for the format. It works just fine.

I think the team at Condé Nast is doing a good job on these Wired apps. Some online critics have expectations that are ridiculously out-of-line with what publishers can deliver this early on in the life of the platform. They should cut publishers some slack and realize that if one had seen the Wired app one year ago they would have been blown away. Now, the bar has been raised so high that developers and publishers have no way to meet expectations.

But readers not critics are the key, and so far they have rewarded Condé Nast by downloading over 100,000 issues in July alone. That seems like success to me.

*By the way, the second screen capture above is the splash page that appears when loading the app. It appears for a short time and is otherwise pretty meaningless -- which I suppose is why I thought I'd capture it for you!

TechCrunch has a post this morning on the Mobclix infographic for July which presents bits of information about mobile apps. The most important points of the first infographic seem fairly obvious to me: that iPad apps are more engaging that iPhone apps, and the iPad apps have on average a 5 time higher eCPM than their iPhone equivalent. Mobclix was looking at games on the Apple tablet, but I would guess that the same kind of results would be found in other areas, as well.