Announcing Mag+ 4.0 – digital publishing for mobile devices
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 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 the app now works on 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.