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What BMJ iPad app users tell us

19 May, 11 | by BMJ Group

My blog about the iPad last month generated some interest, and this update outlines some of the feedback we’ve had to date. The move to make the app free to BMA members has generated some very positive reviews on the iTunes app store. We’d already had some nice comments about the app’s technical functionality, but the pricing issue led to a fair number of 1* ratings.

There are still 45 of them at the time of writing, but there are 39 5* ones too, which is good. It’s been described as “the best journal app,” and “beautifully conceived and executed” This is all very encouraging, which led us to enter the app for this year’s PPA awards, and I’m delighted to see it shortlisted. The ceremony is in June, so fingers crossed. We’ve also entered it for the 2001 ALPSP (Associated of Learned and Professional Society publishers) awards.

Some subscribers have reported problems accessing the latest news, blogs, videos, and podcasts. This is probably because these are all live feeds (unlike the journal tab, which is the weekly print issue’s research, education and comment articles). You need a decent wifi connection to download the latest content on to your device. The blogs and news feeds update at least once daily.

Another iTunes reviewer (Ernest Jones) mentioned the app crashing frequently and the fact that you cannot delete old issues. You can do this by clicking the Edit tab, which brings up a red “no entry” circle alongside each cover icon. If you tap the circle you can delete the issue. It does stay in the library, but you have to download it again to view. On a related note, the file size of each issue is 10MB, so you’d need to have a very full library before your device starts creaking at the seams.

Some subscribers have contacted our colleagues in customer services to ask about BMJ on the Kindle. We’re looking into it, along with other e-readers. The Kindle model is different of course, in that Amazon sets the price (we have no influence here).

Another reader asks if we can sync the app up in some way with Mekentosj’s papers app, by enabling the creation of a pdf within the app.

Finally, a colleague’s husband was taking a flight from Orlando, Florida last week. It was a busy overnight flight with lots of families on board. But he spotted one passenger who spent the whole flight on his BMJ iPad app. So one thing the app definitely isn’t is a cure for insomnia!

David Payne is editor,

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  • Anon

    It would be even better to have the app as a substitute for the print edition that BMA members automatically receive. I for one, would prefer to have only the iPad app, and not have both as it seems such a waste. I’m sure there are many out there who feel the same…

  • Ianowen

    Despite what the above blog would suggest there remain serious problems downloading a new edition. Hence the last 4 reviewers giving it 1* (out of 5). it has nothing to do with a wifi connection: the journal itself won’t load, never mind the live feeds. Good luck with the awards. If this is the standard, you’ll need it. Ps I did report it but not heard anything back.

  • Dpayne

    Dear Ian, Many thanks for your feedback, and apologies for not replying earlier. Sorry too that you’re having problems. We are aware of some download issues and we’re trying to sort it out. I’ve checked with my customer service colleagues and I gather that you have now been in contact with each other.

  • Martin_ronchetti

    Unfortunately the download problem which seemed to have resolved and I have not been able to download the last two editions, they get halfway through loading and then stop and revert to the ‘download,’ button again.

    This is a shame as it is brilliant when it is working.

    My broadband connectin is quite slow (rural Cornwall) but it still shouldn’t be timing out

  • Dpayne

    Dear Martin,
    Really sorry to hear that you’re having problems. We are aware of this bug and we’re working hard to fix it. I’ve just spoken to my collaegues in customer services. They ask, if you have not done so already, that you contact them on They will ask you for some more information, which will help us identify the problem.
    Glad you like the app.

  • Simon Albert

    Similar comments to others I haven’t been able to download any of the iPad copies -it gets halfway, then says installing and finally returns to the download button. I’ve reported this but with no reply. Rather disappointing. I’ve tried a different pads and on many occasions …

  • Mikebain

    What’s the position on this app? It has not worked for 3 months now. Delete and reinstall has given me a single download and, of course, deleted all my previous ones. Very very poor and very very poor communications too. (BMA member BTW)

  • Dpayne

    Thanks for taking the trouble to reply to this blog, and I’m really sorry you’re having problems. We are investigating this as a matter of urgency. It doesn’t seem to affect everybody, which is making it more challenging to find a fix, but there is currently a potential solution that is being tested with some users, and if it works we will roll it into a future release of the app. I was about to post something on app store review page, but decided to await the results of our testing before doing so.
    In the meantime, we have launched a separate “tablet app” for the iPad (and other tablet computers eventually) that doesn’t go via iTunes. You can find out more are

  • Aman

    Does not work gets half way and restarts. I would like my £9.99 back. Also does not download with BMA subscription.

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