Friday, January 21, 2011

Major iOS media app updates as week ends; USA Today, NYTimes iPhone, Guardian Eyewitness apps updated

As this week draws to an end there have been a slew of news app updates released into the iTunes App Store. The timing is probably pretty good to release an app update as we are probably still a few weeks away from the release of the next update to Apple's iOS.
This week saw the release to developers of the second beta for iOS 4.3. (I saw no reason to download it myself as I have no devices dedicated to development at this point.) That would mean that we are at least a couple of weeks away from the release of the update to the public. My own guess would be that it would come as part of an iPad 2 announcement event, or on the same day that News Corp. unveils The Daily.

One of the apps updated today was from Gannett's USA Today. The newly updated app adds Tech and Travel content, as well as multitasking support and some bug fixes.

The New York Times updated its iPhone app which simply fixed bugs.

Meanwhile, The Guardian Eyewitness app was updated to fix some bugs and add steaming "behaviour when the app is in slideshow mode" -- but I don't notice a way to actually stream the slideshow. This may be because the ability to use AirPlay to stream directly from this app won't come until the iOS 4.3 update when developers will be allowed to add AirPlay streaming to their apps. But developer may have already added this in this update -- again, just a guess.
ABC Digital, which is releasing some really good apps for its local television properties before Christmas, has updated its own ABC Player iPad app. The app was one of the first released for Apple's new tablet and because of this has been one of the iPad's most popular media apps.

But judging from the reviews inside the App Store, this update has some issues. "How hard can it be to stream video?" one user asks. Apparently video content freezes and has buffer issues. It could be that this is not really an app issue but a server issue. In any case, one users sums the whole problem up by saying "ABC is technologically challenged!!" -- though I doubt this is the case.

Finally, Pandora (you use Pandora, right?) has issued an update. Along with the usual bug fixes, the app adds connectivity with two automobile sound systems -- the MINI Connected infotainment systems and the Ford SYNC AppLink. The app description refers the user to the mini usa website to learn more, but it looks like the automaker hasn't updated its own site yet to include information on its mini-Pandora system (they were probably waiting for this app update before saying anything on its website).