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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, bmj.com

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