Wednesday, June 13, 2012

App update news: Washington Post, Smithsonian tweak tablet editions; Kobo enhances eBook app; digital newsstand app Lekiosk makes a mess of English

Now that the giant WWDC roll out is over, Apple and developers can get back to creating and updating apps. No doubt the large number of app updates today were submitted prior to the beginning of WWDC, but finally today they are beginning to appear.
The Washington Post today issued an update to its iPad app. The app, The Washington Post for iPad, is a free news app that simply reformats the paper's website. The app, as I've said in the past, seems be to redundant as the iPad's Safari browser does a fine job of reproducing the paper's website.

Since the app does not generate subscription revenue, the only business model that would support it be advertising. But, at least on my own iPad, the only ads to be seen were house ads.

The update to the app appears to be minor: fixes to eliminate crashes and memory leaks.

Smithsonian Magazine from the Smithsonian Institution has also been update. The app update supposedly brings the app 'retina' display support for those who own new iPads.

The first review to be found after the update seems to dispute this, though this may be a case of newer issues being presented with 'retina' support, while older issues remain as they were.

PBS has updated its PBS for iPad app, as well. The new update brings in more local programming. For many viewers this may be a good thing, though I must admit that my local Chicago PBS is the worst I've encountered. (I believe that the station thinks only those over 70 watch, maybe they are right.)

Lekiosk, the French digital newsstand, has updated its iPad app today. The app has gotten a fair amount of attention from media industry websites who believe their sole purpose is the reproduce press releases (does that sound too snarky for you?).

The news here was supposed to be that the app will now make available UK magazine titles, but the app only mentions this in passing. At the top the Lekiosk app still talks about its "600 french titles" (sic), but in the "What's new" section it finally gets around to mentioning the "Londres" newsstand. (That is the way the French spell "London".) Yikes.
Finally, it should be mentioned that Kobo Inc. has released a nice update to its eBook reading app, which still has one of the worst app names out there – Kobo - 1 million FREE Books – Read eBooks!. The app update brings in support for more enhanced eBooks, as well as the usual bug fixes.

Among the enhancements mentioned are "richly illustrated content" from comics, cookbooks, and more, support for read-along books, support for books with embedded audio and video, improved menus, and search.