Google's Currents app for iOS redesigned, renamed Google Play Newsstand
Google has announced the re-release of its Currents news article app as Google Play Newsstand, available through iTunes. Google Play Newsstand allows users to peruse news and in-depth articles featuring audio, video and more, from a variety of publishers. The latest version (3.0) offers new navigation for accessing content, including a Read Now function that organizes subscribed articles and editions in one place, and a Topics section, featuring content most interested in by the user.
Focuses attention on seldom-promoted service
To promote the App Store's Newsstand section, Apple UK is now giving away five free magazine issues a day through August 22. Shoppers are limited to issues selected by Apple, however. The promotion involves single, but complete, issues of the magazines in question, in hopes of sparking subscriptions or generating more interest in e-magazines generally. The first day's group includes NME, The Economist, Focus, T3, and Glamour.
Change credited to custom backend made with help of Adobe
Time Inc. is beginning to enable limited issue previews for the iPad editions of its magazines, officials from the publisher say. Until yesterday, someone using the Entertainment Weekly app without a subscription would only see a promotional screen asking them to pay for a subscription or a single issue. Now, like a number of other iPad magazines, the app lets people read a small selection of the current month's content without paying.
iPod credited in part to Jonathan Ive
Apple has won two new design trademarks via the US Patent and Trademark Office. The first is for the fourth-generation iPod classic, at the time still known as just the iPod. The fourth-gen, released in 2004, was the last model to be strictly music-only; later the same year the company put out the Photo, which gave the iPod a color screen and let people view images on it. It also raised capacity to 60GB. The iPod trademark is credited to Apple's lead designer, Jonathan Ive, as well as another long-time designer for the company, Chris Stringer.
Exclusive first look should prove a boost for Newsstand
Hearst Publishing, which offers a number of magazines on Apple's App Store and through Newsstand, has given the iPad maker an exclusive on its magazines. The publications will now appear on iTunes "a few days" ahead of any other platform, including print. A new page has been created in Newsstand called "Read Them Here First" to showcase the 20 titles that will debut in iPad versions before appearing elsewhere, including Amazon's Kindle Marketplace. The advance copies are available to current and new subscribers.
Apple scores minor coup in attracting content
Publisher Wenner Media has brought music and pop cultural magazine Rolling Stone to the Newsstand section at the App Store. The app is iPad-only, and comes with a one-month trial subscription. After that a single issue is $5, a monthly subscription is $2, and an annual subscription is $20; the latter two options renew automatically. Unlike some magazines, there is no way to subscribe to the Rolling Stone app for free if a person already has a print subscription.
Ingenious use of space gives potential buyers visual cues
Apple has launched magazine ads on the back covers of current issues of Time and The New Yorker that cleverly promote the iPad mini -- by exactly reproducing the issues front cover as it would be seen on the device. Apart from a tiny copyright disclaimer and iPad mini logo, the rest of the back cover is left completely blank, allowing the reader to accurately judge how small the iPad mini is. The ad also features a subtle reminder that the publications can be read digitally through Apple's Newsstand.
Apple, Time may have settled terms
Publisher Time Inc. has enabled in-app subscriptions for the iPad editions of its magazines, reports note. Until recently, anyone wanting to subscribe to the iPad versions of titles like Sports Illustrated had to have an existing subscription elsewhere, unless they wanted to buy each issue individually at extra cost. Users can now pay $4 for a month of iPad issues, or $39 for an annual subscription. Individual issues are $5 apiece.
Range extends from Smart Covers to iTunes rentals
Apple has won the rights to 25 new US patents, covering numerous different products, Patently Apple observes. Some of these include a second patent on the iTunes Store and its rental system, and a fifth patent on Time Machine, featuring an interface capable of showing earlier versions of files. The former dates back to 2008, while the latter was originally submitted in 2007.
Mag Plus illustrates iOS 5 effect on subscriptions
Bonnier's tablet-focused spinoff Mag+ has provided an update showing more concrete signs of the iOS 5 Newsstand effect on tablet magazine adoption. Data handed to AllThingsD revealed that, as soon as iOS 5 was released, Popular Science added over 4,000 new subscribers. Growth in the weeks since has also been much faster, taking it from nearly 28,300 readers to over 40,700.
iPad draws even with Nook in publisher interest
A new McPheters & Company study has shown that publishers are just as likely to publish tablet magazines through the Nook store and Zinio reader app as they do through the iPad. Apple's tablet was almost exactly as likely to have a magazine publisher support it as its two rivals, with 46 percent signing on and just a one point difference with Barnes & Noble and Zinio. The iPhone was also equal, showing that the smaller screen wasn't necessarily a deterrent.
French publishers refuse to bow to Apple terms
French publishers took a shot at challenging Apple's control over publishing terms on the iPad Wednesday with the launch of a new portal. Eight competitors, including L'Équipe and Le Figaro, are now using a common web hub, e-presse.fr, to offer at first individual issues and later subscriptions. The alliance told Reuters that they were also negotiating as a group with Apple in hopes of forcing it to change terms on the App Store and the upcoming iOS 5 Newsstand.
Drops subscription pricing rules entirely
Apple has suddenly and without fanfare thrown out its App Store guidelines on in-app subscription pricing, reports note. Later this month Apple was set to begin enforcing a recent policy on subscriptions, requiring that any outside app subscription options be matched by in-app ones. Of special worry to publishers, though, was an insistence that in-app options cost the "same price or less," even though Apple claims a 30 percent cut of App Store revenue. The policy drew the scrutiny of the FTC.
Developer SDK seed out now, final in fall
Apple today previewed iOS 5, the next version of its firmware for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. The firmware represents a major overhaul, for instance completely changing the notification system to more closely resemble a mix of Android and webOS. Notifications are no longer temporary, but viewable in a Notification Center by swiping down from the top of the screen. The notifications themselves are no longer pop-up bubbles, but text that briefly swivels down while users are busy in another app.