Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mac|Life releases 'Essentials Guide for iPad' while readers await updated version of its main magazine app

Back at the end of August Mac|Life released its first tablet edition and readers and this site raved at the results. Now the Future US magazine has released its second app dubbed Mac|Life Essentials Guide for iPad.
The magazine is taking a "go slow" approach to its tablet editions. The first app has yet to be updated causing a definite souring of reviews inside iTunes. We'll see if this app placates loyal Mac|Life readers.

The new app will cost readers $1.99 and may prove useful to new iPad owners, which the app is apparently targeted at.

Their timing is pretty good. It is, after all, the holiday shopping season.

The middle nineties were exciting times for print publishers who were eager to explore the brave new world of Internet publishing. One of the things we publishers felt was a major priority was reserving URLs for our publications. (What URL, for instance, should the magazine Roads & Bridges buy for our web edition? -- We ended up with -- bad choice. Even today the URL is available.)

There doesn't seem to be the same rush when it comes to mobile and tablet editions. For instance, do a search in the iTunes App Store for "PC World" and you'll find an iPhone app from Karl Bailey that is not what you might have been expecting:
The PCWorld app allows you to retrieve information on all 43 English & Welsh police forces. Information provided include nearest police station to a searched address or geolocation & crime statistics for that force & local area.
The only iPad app to be found is for the Greek edition of PC World -- another of those dreaded replica editions from PixelMags. (There are two reviews in the US store complaining that you can't change the language to English! Wouldn't that be a killer app -- one that changes the language of any replica edition magazine to the language of your choice?!)

I often wonder about what goes on at Apple when an app comes in with the name of an already existing magazine. I assume Apple has decided that they are not in the business of policing brand names.

There have already been cases where newspapers have had their names snatched by a developer who were simply taking the RSS feeds of the publication and making their own app out of them. In August I wrote about an app that "hijacked" a paper's brand name and content. "The Commercial Appeal" was from an independent developer that called the app the "unofficial Commercial Appeal website/newspapers companion, created by a Memphian, for Memphians" -- it can no longer be found in iTunes.

It is probably still the case that publishers can either launch their own app, thus saving their space, so to speak, or else continue to stay vigilant by searching the app stores (don't forget those Android stores) to make sure someone isn't out there doing business under your name.