Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Future PLC releases over 60 app updates for its Apple Newsstand digital magazine apps

The U.K. publisher Future PLC today has released over 60 (I count 64) app updates for its stable of digital magazines. The publisher has 112 apps for the iPad in the Apple App Store, and 73 that will work on the iPhone and iPod touch. The company has far fewer titles available in Google Play or the app store in Amazon.com.

While Future was one of the first to launch a native app for the iPad with its release of the original Mac|Life app designed with the help of Balthaser Studios, the company has pursued pretty much a replica edition strategy in order to get its portfolio of magazines into the App Store. As a result, the company last month said that they had sold over £5 million in digital editions since Apple launched its Newsstand a year ago in 2011.
The apps that have been updated, which are too numerous to list here, include Photography Week, PlayStation: The Official Magazine, and Mac Life Magazine.

Each of the apps list generally the same update: support for iOS 6, support for the iPhone 5 if the app is currently a universal app, and new digital magazine features.

Despite the claim of success, readers have complained about the apps crashing, the fact that the app editions are replicas, and the cost (though many of these complaints are from users who don't seem to understand that while the app may be free they are expected to pay for issues once inside).

The strategy to go replica may have allowed Future to make its titles available to readers throughout the world, but it appears to be limiting their success as readers look elsewhere for better designed and easier to read publications.