Thursday, August 4, 2011

Media app updates: Sunday Times adds section downloads and editing mechanism; Tackable updates their TapIn Bay Area app for the iPad

There hasn't been a lot of new interesting media apps launched in the past few weeks, in my opinion. The one that has gotten the most press is AOL's Editions, the latest news aggregation app. For me, this is a "me-too" category because any app that does not contain original content, but only aggregates content from other sources is really all about design. Flipboard, Zite, Editions – make your choice, but there will be others just like them coming down the road before you know it.

But while there haven't been a flood of good new apps from traditional media companies launched in the past couple of weeks, that doesn't mean that the developers have been on vacation. No, in preparation for that trip to San Tropez (after all, that is where all good developers vacation, right?) they have been working on updating their current apps. My guess is that once iOS 5 is launched in the fall you will see even more updated apps.
Murdoch's Sunday Times updated its popular iPad app today. Sunday Times UK, as it is called in the U.S. App Store, or simply Sunday Times, as it is called in the U.K. App Store, remains in the top ten in the news category under free apps. Sky News for iPad remains in the number one spot.

The big change to the Sunday Times app is that now readers can download all sections of the edition for offline reading, reading those sections downloaded while others continue to load.

The developers also made it easier for readers to delete sections and entire editions through the app.

TapIn Bay Area, the app sold under the MediaNews Group name, but developed by Bay Area start-up Tackable, updated its iPad app yesterday. (You can find my original post on the app here.)

The app is a daily deals app but was launched without putting the deals on a map. Maybe the thinking was that iPad owners would not use their tablets in a mobile fashion and so wouldn't want this feature that is usually seen on a smartphone app.

Tackable launched a separate iPhone version of the TapIn Bay Area app that is designed to by a companion app to the iPad version and is more about social networking and community news than daily deals. Strangely, though, the feature added to the iPad app seems more appropriate for the iPhone version, which does not use maps.

Spotify has already issued a bug fix update for its iPhone app, which judging by the number of comments in the App Store, seems to be doing very well. Users, however, have complained that they are confused as to how to create an account. This is, no doubt, the result of Apple's in-app purchase rules, which force companies like Spotify to keep this stuff off of their apps.
One airline that has both a magazine app and a separate flight app is Lufthansa. It's flight app was updated yesterday to improve its load times and fix some bugs.

I'm wondering, however, when we might see a combination app, something that might prove very interesting to frequent flyers.