The big new thing with these Apps, version 2.0, is that they sync the latest issue of the magazine to your iPhone when you are in a WiFi zone. “Sync-ing” is the preferred term, but one can think of it as a matter of cache-ing or downloading the current issue. For reasons to do with licensing and presumably with Apple’s deals with the carriers, content sync-ing is only possible via WiFi. For a reasonable sized issue (64 pp), in a good WiFi zone, the process of sync-ing may take 5/8 minutes. The issues are quite chunky files. The subscriber syncs the most recent issue of a magazine to the phone, and the new one automatically turfs last week’s issue ‘out of bed’ when it climbs on board. Thus freeing up some precious space on the iPhone.
The principal advantages of the new system are (1) it is now easy to read the magazine when you are out of reach of the internet. So its ideal for commuters or travellers; (2) reading, browsing the current issue is quite a lot faster. And the slowness of the App to load up was the main complaint we heard from early users of the App. So these are two important enhancements.
A side-advantage of the new feature is that the one-week subs become an even better deal for the customer who is merely tasting the magazine. After the subscription week has passed, the user will be unable to search or sample the magazines archive or back issues. But she will have the last sync-ed issue on her iPhone, as a reminder of the purchase. This makes the ‘sampling’ aspect of the one week, trial subscription a much more potent tool for the publisher who wants to promote to mobile users.
We haven’t yet submitted a version 2.0 for Exactly our generic App, but that is coming along nicely and should be in the Apple deliberative process shortly.