Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New & updated media apps: editorial corrections prove easier for Sports Illustrated with ones and zeros than ink and paper; Bluetooth support added for Skype apps

So now that the excitement and hype of the Kindle Fire introduction is over it is back to business – talking about where most of the new tablet editions and apps are appearing first.

Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated released a single-sponsored special section for the college football season just the other day. Sports Illustrated Football Rivals HD is a free app that is a good example of using apps to produce special sections. These sections can be single-sponsored like this one, sponsored by Coca-Cola Zero, or can be a themed section with many sponsors.

Today, though SI issued an update to the app. No, there was nothing technically wrong with the app. No, instead SI ventured into dangerous waters: writing about college sports where every alum knows everything there is to about their teams. Then combine that with rivalries, well, oh my. Writes something wrong about the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry and as a Michiganian I can tell you that you are looking for trouble.

So today the SI app has been updated and the app description contains a line I've never seen before: "Editorial corrections." Try that in a print edition.

Skype released their widely expected updates for their apps today. The updates for their iPhone and iPad apps adds Bluetooth support for the iPhone 4 and iPhone GS, the iPod touch 4th generation, and the iPad 2.

The app update also adds video stabilization, which seems to work pretty good in demos.

On the other hand, the app updates adds advertising for users who do not have Skype Credit or a calling subscription. Users are going to complain, but Skype has been looking for a sustainable business model for a long time, ads are a natural, if unpopular solution.

A new app, released last week, is for the magazine Relevant. The magazine describes itself as a magazine covering faith, culture and living intentionally. The app, simply called RELEVANT, is free to download and gives the reader the September/October issue for free. Future issues will cost $2.99, or an annual subscription, six issues, costs $9.99.

The app is worth checking out as an example of what I would call the tour de force school of tablet publishing – and I really don't mean that in a negative way, just not all publishers are willing or able to put this much production effort into their tablet editions.

The app has gotten good reviews inside the App Store, though it's possible reviews were just sucking up to the big guy, who knows. Here is the promotional video that demonstrates the new tablet edition: