I’m always excited to bring you guys new releases, but I have to say: This one is a biggie. We really think this is a big step in our efforts to be the favorite tool when it comes to premier digital publishing for mobile devices.
That’s because with this release, we’ve completely rewritten the underlying code for the Mag+ reader app from the ground up. It’s faster, more stable and just better all around.
The old codebase was written before the iPad even existed—it was a herculean effort done in the 61 days between iPad announcement and launch. But the Mag+ has evolved a lot since those early days, as has the iPad, and the code has just been continuously bolted onto for the past two years, making it ever harder for our devs to work with. So six months ago, we asked ourselves: “If you were building a Mag+ reader today, how would you build it?”
The result is what we’ve been calling StreetBob (yes, after the Harley), and it debuts in this release.
The biggest changes you’ll notice are 1) the low-resolution previews you used to see when turning pages are now gone; and 2) we’ve made some minor but useful changes to the user interface.
First, those low-res previews. Those existed because we built the app originally to be great at swiping really slow or really fast—that’s why it pre-loaded previews of the whole issue. But it turns out that people tend to browse issues at a medium pace. So we’ve re-written the memory handling to more intelligently load the full high-res page as you’re swiping. You may still see some flashes of white as memory-intensive pages load, but overall, it’s a much better experience.
As for the UI, we’ve made some simple tweaks based on user testing, and the fact that one now can publish to apps on both iPads and iPhones. We separated the buttons that lead to the app’s “spaces”—Library, Store, Now Reading, Help, Live and My Account—from those that trigger actions inside an issue—Playlist, Share, Bookmark, and Contents. We found that this was not only more intuitive for users, but it also gave us more room to expand in the future. The side effect I’m most excited about is that the Live window is now a fullscreen window, so it’s finally a truly useful place to serve daily news or other web content, turning your app into more than just a magazine reader. And the whole interface is more customizable than ever before.
But this update isn’t just about the new code. Here’s a handful of other highlights. You can read the full release note here.
- Mag+ now supports the iPhone (including the new iPhone 5) and Android mobile with a Reviewer app and a premium brandable reader app fully optimized for the iPhone, plus templates that give you all the Mag+ functionality while allowing you to create digital content specifically for the smaller canvas and use case of the phone. Time to rethink your brand’s mobile content strategy. Our first clients on iPhone are British Journal of Photography, ICON Magazine and New Black.
- We’re iOS6 compatible from day one, with awesome iOS6-only features, including Facebook and Message sharing, plus the ability to purchase any iTunes content from a pop-up window in the app, rather than going out to iTunes.
- The Reviewer app now has a Library! That’s right, you can now store the designs you review as long as you want. We’ve also made it so that a link to a .mib file can be opened directly from an e-mail, web site or Dropbox, making it much easier for you to share your designs with anyone who has the Reviewer.
- You can now have a search bar in the Store and Library. It’s not full text search yet (coming!) but it will search issue names and descriptions.
- The plug-in will now automatically find any iPad on the same network running the reviewer app, so you don’t have to enter the IP address (on Macs, anyway; sorry, Windows folks – it’s coming for you too!)
- We’ve added an awesome new script in InDesign that lets you export an entire folder of InDesign documents at once, rather than one-by-one—super useful if you’re using multi-device export.
- Speaking of multi-device, the Android guys have been busy too, adding not only a Mobile version of the app, but making sure we’ll also support publishing to the new Kindle Fires and the Nexus 7 from day one. We’re looking forward to a big year for Android.
- Oh, and this is still in beta testing with a few brands, but we’ve built in support for Google’s AdMob SDK, which means dynamic ad serving in Mag+ is coming very soon.
Finally, a huge thanks to the dev team for this one, with a special shout out to Fredrik Olsson, who not only lead the whole StreetBob project, but argued vehemently and intelligently with me at all the right times, leading to some of the best pieces of this update.
There’s much more about the release out on the support site, and as always, let us know of any bugs, complaints, ideas or kudos – we love to hear it all.
We're proud to say that Mag+ 4.0 offers premier digital publishing.