Friday, March 23, 2012

Fast Company, other publishers rush out updates to support the 'retina display' of the new iPad

Slow down might be the message many publishers and developers should listen to as they rush to update their tablet editions. Lots of magazine apps are being updated quickly to include support for the new iPad's higher resolution display.

With the doubling of the resolution of the display, many publishers are finding that their digital magazines are simply not as eye popping as others and are quickly moving to upgrade their apps. Text, in particular, really reveals an app's sharpness – especially if the app does not render its text separately – that is, is embedded in a page's image. This is a problem for many replica editions, but also native apps where an art director has chosen to overall static text on an image, but then sets that image at a lower resolution than the new iPad's 2048 x 1536.

Among the publishers issuing updates to today, Fast Company stands out because while the update takes into account the new iPad's higher resolution, the app apparently does not fix a bug associated with the subscription process. As a result reviewers inside iTunes are hammering the app.

Lesson to be learned: fix the major bugs first, worry about resolution later.

Fast Company's tablet edition landed in the App Store at the beginning of March and right from the beginning the magazine suffered issues with subscription authentification. For print subscribers, having a higher resolution magazine really isn't that important if they can't access the issues to begin with, right?

Another magazine that has added 'retina display' support is the tablet edition from AOL's Engadget. Engadget Distro, as it is called, added higher resolution support and nothing else as the app appears to be working just fine, if judged by the high marks readers have given the app inside the App Store.

Not surprisingly, one of the first companies to update the iPad apps to make them 'retina' compliant was Apple itself. Today the company updated its iTunes Movie Trailers app to increase the resolution of the trailers.