Thursday, August 30, 2012

Media app updates: Amazon updates its iOS Kindle app, The Sporting News improves navigation of its free mag

Most of the media app updates have been, how shall I say it, less than exciting. In fact, I've gotten quite a number of press releases lately that try really hard to pretend that their updates are major, when at best they are bug fixes. Other press releases have touted new app launches, when the reality was that the app first appeared in the Ap Store months ago.

But this morning, prior to the Labor Day holiday on Monday, a number of interesting and more significant updates have been issued.

Amazon, for instance, has issued an update to its Kindle app for iOS devices. The official name of their app, by the way, is Kindle – Read Books, Magazines & More – Over 1 Million eBooks & Newspapers, which would laughable were it not for the fact that the official names of the Zinio and Kobo apps are equally ridiculous.

The list of changes to the Kindle app are extensive and will no doubt be appreciated by the thousands of users of the app:
New features in 3.2:
• Adjustable Margins (iPad): Choose from three layouts for your preferred reading experience.
• Rapid Highlights: Quickly mark important passages for handy reference later.
• Improved Brightness Control: Refined the brightness slider to be more responsive and optimized font hues for better viewing.
• Highlighting for illustrations and photos in Print Replica Textbooks: You can now highlight photos, illustrations, tables, and charts.
• Notebook for Print Replica Textbooks: Notebook compiles all your bookmarks, notes, and highlighted passages, photos, and images. Tag and filter the most important items to study.
• Improved navigation for Print Replica Textbooks: Quickly flip through textbook pages and easily jump back-and-forth using the page thumbnails and back/forward buttons.

The Sporting News has updated its iPad app of the same name this morning.

The app description says that the update makes the navigation menu "native to the app, improving speed of navigation and providing access to entire issue with a flick of the finger."

Besides bug fixes, the other changes really involve new content rather than changes to the app itself.

The Sporting News remains a free app that provides its sports coverage free of charge to iPad owners. The app resides in the Apple Newsstand in order to support automatic downloads.

The app has some very strange reviews inside the App Store. So many of the one-star reviews say the icon has disappeared when it, of course, has simply moved into the Newsstand – a good reminder to developers that moving a stand-alone app into Newsstand requires you to make sure your readers know where to find the app. I think this is a problem mostly among those iPad owners who manage their apps solely through the tablet rather than iTunes on their Mac or PC. When app updates occur on your PC you can more clearly see that the icon has changed from a square icon (signifying a stand-alone app) to a rectangular one (signifying an app inside of Newsstand).