Imaginative use of iBeacon gives bar patrons free access to Newsstand magazines

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A London-based digital publishing company is trialling use of Apple’s iBeacon technology to provide bar patrons with free access to digital versions of two magazines in Newsstand, reports TechCrunch.

The way it works is that the bar buys a subscription, and one or more iBeacons (each little larger than a quarter) unlock the content for customers within range. On iOS devices, the whole process is completely automatic. Once the customer leaves the location, the content is locked again and becomes available for purchase as normal …  Read more

Apple revamps design of iBooks and iTunes U for iOS 7 on iPad & iPhone

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Following redesigns of many of its other applications, Apple has completely redesigned its iBooks application for iOS 7. The new iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch app follows the design aesthetic of the bundled Newsstand application, and also includes a completely redesigned iBookstore. The free update is available via the App Store now. For fans of the page curl effect in iBooks, you will be happy to know that it has not been removed.

Apple has also completely redesigned its iTunes U application, an app for downloading and managing education content. Both apps include redesigned icons:

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Quark gets acquired by mergers and acquisitions firm, Apple could benefit

Remember Quark? The developer of popular publishing software QuarkXPress has been sold to merger and acquisition firm Platinum Equity, and, according to a report from Techcrunch, the company is already focusing on finding a new home for the Quark’s IP. In the midst of heated patent battles between smartphone makers, what might the patents and technologies owned by Quark have to offer Apple?

Magazine and newspaper subscriptions are a big focus for Apple, it’s clear with the introduction of Newsstand in iOS 5, an app dedicated to helping manage digital subscriptions. Quark recently launched their QuarkXPress 9 publishing software that will allow publications to “design for and publish to digital devices in a variety of formats”, specifically the iPad, “without requiring the services of a programmer.”

Apple has helped Quark in the past, offering their services to get the publishing platform working on Mac OSX.

The majority of large publications have millions in funding behind them when creating the digital version of their magazines for the iPad. However, if Apple were to integrate Quark software into an SDK specifically for publishers, the subscriptions market on iOS devices might closer resemble the ecosystem currently in place for games. In other words, giving developers without millions in funding the “tools to convert existing layouts to rich, interactive content — or create new iPad content from scratch” may bring with it a rush of quality content with subscription models much more attractive to users than those offered by the larger publications.

Apple is clearly making digital subscriptions a focus in iOS 5 with Newsstand Kit, which provides the ability update issues in the background and auto-update subscriptions, but the SDK certainly falls short of everything Quark software could offer publishers.
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