Exact Editions iTunes apps are getting some new versions 6.1. Clear the decks for Apple’s new version of iOS and the new product announcements anticipated for the next few weeks.

As the Exact Editions apps work through the approval process they will emerge with a brand new interface for handling archives on the iPad. The magazine issues for the current year can now be accessed and selected from a simple drop down box that shows you all the front covers:

An array of Music Week covers, with stacks for previous years

If a reader wants to burrow into issues from a previous year,  fingering the stack  picks up a year of back issues in a new array for that year, and then a two finger pinch to close the stack and return to the top level.

I am finding this a very natural way of navigating around 100s of back issues. It is also cool that there is now an easy way of searching a set of back issues. So I can easily find all the mentions of ‘Spotify’ in Music Week in 2011, there are quite a few!

“Spotify” search results from Music Week 2010 stack

Magazines have enormous wealth in their back issues, and subscribers to the Exact Editions apps get full access to the archive from their iPad. Putting a powerful search engine over some of the chunky archives that the iPad can now handle gives the subscriber a great research tool.

Issues that have been pulled up from the stacks can be ‘synched’ by tapping a star on the apps toolbar. And ‘unsynched’ the same way. A hollow star is unsynched.

We feel that this approach to archival access, offering search and a browseable array, provides our subscribers with yet another reason to enjoy the iPad-ability of the magazine format.