American Express Publishing has updated the two magazine apps that are in the Apple Newsstand, Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine. The app descriptions do not give readers a clue as to why the apps are being updated – there are no mentions of bug fixes or making the apps iOS 6 compliant, for instance.
But one could probably assume that the updates concern the newly updated Apple mobile OS since neither app is universal so no accommodation for the new iPhone 5's screen would be necessary.
The big message to readers, though, is that when they update the app they will have to re-download whatever issues they previously accessed.
It looks like previous updates forced readers to do the same thing as the most recent reviews inside the App Store complain about lost issues and wasted time re-downloading previous bought digital issues.
AmEx's pricing policies for their tablet editions is reasonable: monthly subscriptions cost $1.99 and an annual subscription is $19.99. Print subscribers can access the digital issues by signing in through the app. Individual issues can be bought for $3.99.
Update: Because of a change of file formats, the app will be delivering the issues in a different file format, which is why readers with older issues will be forced to redownload them. This is no big deal in my mind. In fact, I see no reason why publishers shouldn't go ahead and tell their readers this right in the app description. In any case, the important thing here is letting readers know that this will have to be done, and AmEx did that (though I'm sure some will still complain inside the App Store).