Friday, December 21, 2012

Media app updates: The Magazine, now with an animation (gasp!); Installation Magazine goes universal, using the Mag+ platform to create a native iPhone magazine edition

Apple needed to clear the decks before they shut down iTunes Connect, so a lot of app updates have appeared this week. This morning Marco Arment's The Magazine received an update but it looks, based on the app description that another might be right around the corner.

"There's an animation glitch in this version affecting some subscribers that usually goes away after a minute or two. I'm looking into it. Sorry about that," wrote Arment.

An animation? In the stripped down digital magazine? Well, good for Arment. There is no reason why a developer, or an art director, shouldn't use what the platform allows. As a publisher, if asked what bells and whistles an app should employ, my answer would always be the same: tell the story, don't worry about bells and whistles, use whatever features and effects will best tell the story – inform the reader, don't try to impress them.

Digital design can sometimes be like the golfer who is so concerned with his swing that he fails to notice that he is aiming at the clubhouse instead of the flag.

The Canadian publisher Rogers Publishing Limited updated several of its apps including the B2B title Canadian Grocer. Of the titles I currently have Marketing Magazine was also updated, but it looks like a large number of their apps received the same update.

According to the app description this is what is new:
  • Enhancements to videos, images and interactive elements.
  • Access back issues easier and faster using the improved store view.
  • Downloading issues is now more stable and reliable.
  • Improvements to the At A Glance panel.
  • Multiple minor bug fixes.
Several other media apps such as the International Herald Tribune for iPad, and NowThisNews were also updated, though the updates were minor and generally centered around fixing bugs or refining features.
Probably the biggest media app update of the day belongs to Installation Magazine. The first post on the new digital art magazine appeared here in March. The app uses the Mag+ platform to create its digital issues and the app.

Now the app update has made the app universal, using the digital publishing platform's relatively new ability to create native mobile design solutions.

"Installation Magazine is not only new and improved, we're now on the iPhone!!" the app description proclaims.

"With the launch of Installation Magazine in March 2012, we have been met with an overwhelmingly positive response," the copy continues. "We’ve been listening to your feedback and are excited to announce big developments, starting right now. Launching with this update and new issue, we’ve redesigned our contemporary art and lifestyle magazine specifically for the iPhone in stunning retina display. We also present our best iPad reader to date: bringing you high quality media and faster downloads. Current iPad subscribers will be able to continue their subscription on both devices, as well as benefit from continued support on first and second generation iPads."