Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Morning Brief: Publishers using Adobe DPS still issuing updates related to iOS 6.1; Western Digital and others begin to take on Apple's supposed 'hobby'

The release of iOS 6.1 by Apple created lots of problems for developers, especially those using the Adobe DPS.The released exposed an issue with DPS viewers that have in-app purchasing enabled, which means just about all the tablet editions for consumer magazines.

What has followed has been instructive: which publishers handle their app updates in-house, and which departments would quickly rush out updates? Condé Nast, which has a large portfolio of tablet editions began issuing updates fairly quickly, others have been slower.

Today American Express Publishing issued iOS 6.1 related updates for its two tablet editions FOOD & WINE and TRAVEL + LEISURE. The app description describes the update in one sentence: "This update fixes issue with the new iOS 6.1."

The update must be a bit of a source of frustration for the publisher as the company issued updates in January, just one week before Adobe announced on its blog the iOS 6.1 issue. The updates then were forced because the publisher was changing file formats, something that would force their readers to download their magazines once again.

"Complete this update of the FOOD & WINE app to take advantage of NEW and IMPROVED features that allow for a better reading experience and for enhanced sharing and bookmarking capabilities. Once you update the app, you’ll need to sign-in and re-download issues that you’ve already purchased/downloaded (there is no additional charge)," the app description told readers at the time.

Most publishers have told their readers the update being issued is tied to iOS 6.1, but some publishers generally keep their readers in the dark – Hearst is definitely one of them. Hearst issued an update for Cosmopolitan and while the app description does mention bug fixes, it is otherwise pretty vague. As the last update of the app came December 14, I would assume this new update is also iOS 6.1 related.

By the way, if you want an evidence that Apple is treating major publishers any differently than they do small, independent publishers, take a look at the screenshots being used for Cosmo.

Apple has always said that its Apple TV was just a "hobby" – no one believed them because no one could imagine that Apple would blow such an enormous opportunity to own the family room. But Apple chose not to open up the Apple TV to third party developers, and has one slowly, incrementally done anything with its box top set.

Now, other tech firms are entering the game, apparently no longer afraid of big-bad Apple.

The latest to enter the fray is Western Digital which got its WD TV Play streaming media player featured in the NYT this morning. Western Digital's new device comes with more built in apps than Apple's, which remains mostly in the market to push iTunes content.

Priced at only $70, the box could find an audience if it interfaced well with Apple products, but according to the NYT report that is not the case.

Samsung, too, has entered the market with its HomeSync product. HomeSync is a bit different in that it will have a hard drive, with definitely puts it in a bit of a different class. But Samsung has failed to announce a launch date or pricing, and until they do one won't have a clue whether this new product was announced simply to draw attention to its other Android products or whether the company is serious about the platform. But because Samsung says HomeSync can access Google Play it is obvious that unless Apple finally opens up its Apple TV it will have forever lost any chance at the next revolution in media platforms, and with it any chance to tap into the huge market for television advertising.


Anonymous said...

Once Apple does open up its own ecosystem to 3rd party developers, Apple TV will explode with popularity with the amount of content available on it. Art is one category that can benefit from being inside of people's living rooms.

Douglas Hebbard said...

I would have agreed with you in the past.

But I now see Apple more like Microsoft, or at least like an old media company: the pressure from the iTunes sales folks may be preventing them from adding too many apps to the Apple TV, and especially 3rd party apps because they want to drive iTunes sales.