You know how you walk into a coffee shop or bar, order a refreshing beverage and then grab a newspaper or magazine to read? Now, thanks to Apple’s iBeacons, you can do the exact same thing, only you can peruse the provided periodicals on your iPad or iPhone.
It’s been hard to miss Apple’s new ‘Designed by Apple’ ad campaign that has taken over TV the past few days. Apple isn’t content with just a TV commercial, though, as the company has begun to publish two-page advertisements in newspapers to push the campaign forward.
Today’s edition of the Toronto Star features a two-page Apple ad of a man wearing an iPhone armband while exercising, with the monologue for the ‘Designed by Apple’ commercial printed above. We expect similar ads to pop-up across the U.S. over the next few weeks.
The New York Times has today launched a new, “experimental” web app designed for optimal reading on the iPad. Built using HTML5, the app is available exclusively to digital subscribers with tablet access, as well as home delivery subscribers who link their account for digital access.
The app boasts a number of unique features, including four new ways to read the NYT, new “swipe-friendly” navigation gestures, and more.
When Apple announced the terms for Newsstand and digital subscriptions, many publications felt that the company was being too hard on them. Apple’s requirement that publishers offer the same deals through the App Store that they do elsewhere while still taking its typical 30% cut of the income ruffled a lot of feathers in the publishing world. While there was a lot of angry discussion about the policy when Apple announced and implemented it, many publications decided to accept the policy – at least initially.
Since then, however, a handful of publications have decided to abandon their presence on iOS devices. Some are planning to build a web app as their only iOS or mobile presence. Others are looking to create deals with various news aggregators. Regardless of their plans, Apple’s terms are one of the key reasons that publishers are getting out of the App Store.
Apple’s Newsstand feature wasn’t without controversy as the company rolled it out. Issues around Apple’s control of subscriptions as well as the company’s 30% cut of content sales were hotly debated last year. However, with Newsstand a hit, publishers (and Apple) are reaping $70,000 a day from it.
And, if publishing execs everywhere agree with The Economist’s CEO Andrew Rashbass, that controversy is dead and buried – and it’s other iOS digital distribution models that pose a threat to publishers.
It’s pretty clear that digital distribution is going to play a large role in the future of magazines and newspapers. That doesn’t mean, however, that print editions are going away any time soon. For the foreseeable future, we’re likely to see print/digital hybrids while consumers and publishers test the waters of both digital products and distribution channels.
The road to digital hasn’t been a smooth ride for many publications. Part of the reason is the lack of resources being devoted to creating engaging and immersive digital content that doesn’t feel as if you’re simply reading a PDF of the print edition.
One big area where publisher are still failing is advertising – despite excellent interactive ad systems like Apple iAd, publishers are still stuck in a print mentality when it comes to ads. In fact, according to a new study, publications often simply toss the exact same print-formatted ads into digital editions that run in their print counterparts.
The Guardian’s excellent iPad app has been updated to make it cleaner, faster and easier to use. The Guardian is the one Newsstand periodical I pay for because, even though you can get almost all of the same content on the website for free, the app is outstanding.
The new version makes it even better. However, there is one huge omission: support for the new iPad’s Retina Display.
Apple has been embracing subscription-based iOS applications for some time, such as those that offer magazines and newspapers, but the same model did not appear for iOS games until earlier this week, when the Cupertino company approved a title from Big Fish Games that offered gamers the opportunity to pay a monthly fee of $4.99 to access the companies entire catalog through one app.
When the title hit the App Store, it was reported that Apple had begun accepting subscription-based games for iOS, and that the new release from Big Fish could be the first of many games to offer a similar service. However, Apple has quickly put a stop to those dreams after it pulled Big Fish’s title from the App Store.
UK newspaper The Independent launched an iPad app this morning, but it still needs a little work.
The free app is a far cry from the offering by The Guardian, which we raved about recently, but The Indie (as it is affectionately known by UK hacks) has had to struggle by on a tiny budget for decades. It’s not going to have the same sort of cash to spend on digital news projects.
Sadly, that shows in this morning’s newly-launched app. It’s functional, but very basic. There’s no access to an archive of issues; you get today’s paper, swiftly downloaded to your device when you open the app (so offline reading is possible).
But as a newspaper reading experience, it’s disappointing. You can’t swipe your way between articles. The primary navigation tool is an icon of a bullet list in the top left corner – tap this and you’ll see links to section front pages, and from those you can reach individual stories. The upshot is a lot of tapping to move around, which soon feels like hard work.
Stranger still, today’s launch issue shows signs of being released before it’s ready. On story pages, the newspaper’s masthead graphic doesn’t quite fit into the space allocated for it, so the line immediately below cuts through the graphic. Worse still, there are broken images all over the place, even on the front page. Teething problems, no doubt, but a shame they weren’t spotted before the app was made public.
If you’re a regular reader of The Indie and like reading news on your iPad, you’ll probably jump to get this app. But as it stands right now, there’s little on offer here to tempt people away from other news apps.
Want another reason why the newspaper industry is going down the tubes? How about this: the owner of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times wants to create an Android-powered tablet for its subscribers. The device, reportedly to be manufactured by Samsung, is expected to miss a mid-August deadline.