Monday, December 10, 2012

Morning Brief: Emmis updates its city/regional magazine apps; British Airways redesigns mobile app; Fairfax updates tablet editions for its Australian newspapers

The city/regional magazine publisher Emmis Communications updated its tablet editions over the weekend. These apps for such titles as Texas Monthly and Los Angeles Magazine and remain, for the most part, simply replica editions.

The Emmis regional print magazines are well designed, this helps a bit when they are translated to digital, especially when the reader has a newer iPad with a retina display, but otherwise the reader is forced to use pinch-to-zoom to read much of the content.
But there may be some hope on the horizon: the Texas Monthly app contains a single article issue that the reader can download for free. This "Single" is reformatted for the iPad, its fonts appearing to be huge when compared to the standard replica editions inside the app.

The "Single" serves two purposes, it allows the magazine to promote an article in hopes of luring new digital subscribers, and it could, it used this way, allow the editors to play around with the tablet platform a bit – though it doesn't look to be utilized in this way at this time.

Emmis is finding that, like Hearst, its readers are not exactly happy with its digital subscription policies as these apps require all readers to buy a subscription, even if the reader is already a print subscriber.

British Airways has redesigned its mobile iOS app, adding new features and changed many of its functions to make managing flight information easier and more intuitive.

There is a new "Manage my flight" section allowing users to check arrival departure times, choose seats, access upgrade offers – and the airline promises to do more with this new section in the future.

The app is now optimized for both iOS 6 and the new iPhone 5, and one assumes it is using Passbook now, though it doesn't mention it directly. But the app description does say that the company has "also made it easier to access alternative boarding pass options if a mobile boarding pass is not available."

Quite a number of media companies updated their apps this weekend including The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Independent, Le Soir, BBC News and The Canberra Times for iPad.

Most of the app updates are simple bug fixes or updates to add iPhone 5 support. Others add new features like pinch-to-zoom to the crosswords like the Canberra Times app.

That app, from Fairfax, is just one of the company's apps updated this weekend. The others are for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.