Changes for 2nd Bones iPad App-Enabled Episode

Bones Syn App Episode 14 Main ScreenThis week’s experience with the Bones Show Companion iPad app from FOX was much improved for its second interactive episode. The app update earlier in the week improved the loading process.

The first thing I saw when I opened the app was a pop-up saying a new episode was available and asked if I wanted to load it. However, the new episode (“The Bikini in the Soup”) was somehow already loaded and running behind the pop-up.

Bones Sync App Episode 14 New Episode Dialog Box

An alert box appeared at start-up asking if I wanted to download a new episode, but the new content was already running in the background.

The big change I noticed right away was the Sync Button had disappeared since last week. The app appears to know when the show is airing and just starts the synchronized feed automatically for the live broadcast. Did the app know the show was already airing in my city?  Due to the issues last week with loading a new episode, I was unable to try it during the live broadcast.  Having no playback button or timeline scrub bar prevents you from skipping ahead during the live show.  It also keeps you from having to manually start and stop the synchronized content feed, which is an option for the convenience of time-shifted viewing.

I noticed the app got the time from the Internet.  My iPad clock is off by a few minutes, but the counters in the app didn’t care and accurately counted down to the end of the show.  I also noticed the app says the show started at exactly “8:59:53 PM EST.” I wonder if it changes the time zone to match the user’s location.

Bones Sync App Episode 14 Slideshow

Swipe sideways or use the number buttons to navigate the slideshow.

The slideshow experience in the Forensic Files was much improved. You can now swipe to advance the pictures or tap large number buttons to move around. That is much easier than the navigation in last week’s episode.

There are still some small typographical errors in the new episode and app update.  I missed a couple of them last week. First, the button for “This Weeks Question” should be “This Week’s Question.”  The episode menu lists “Dr. Sweets Diary” and the diary page is called “Dr. Lance Sweet’s Final Thought.”  The character is “Dr. Lance Sweets,” so the final thought should use Sweets’ or Sweets’s (depending on where you fall in the ‘s grammar war).  They might want to make the name possessive in the “Dr. Sweets Diary” title, too.  The other typo is in the screen that appears during a pause for commercials (says “if your watching” instead of “if you’re watching”). If developers or designers are writing content, it would be handy to have a good copy editor do a final check before launch.  (Yes, I will humbly correct any typos you find in this post.)

I had no crashes this time. I was able to log into Facebook okay this time, avoiding the app crash I had earlier in the week. When I click the Facebook Connect button on the Brennan Translator, a pop-up in-line browser appears briefly, closes, and then the Facebook Connect button becomes a logout button. I guess the app detects I am still logged into Facebook from the last session, but it is still a little startling and un-app-like to see a big white box open briefly and close on its own.

Final Thoughts

  • Did the app start the synchronized play mode automatically because it knew the show was airing live at that moment in my location?  Would people in the central and mountain time zones have seen something different? If the app were aware of your location, would it know what time Bones airs in each Mountain time zone city, which can vary? Do FOX stations have a “Mountain Minute” that would affect the synchronized content experience (although this app does not sync content to the second)? What about Hawaii and Alaska?
  • I like the option to go back and review the synchronized content from previous episodes that were downloaded to the app.  That could even be a touchpoint for fans between shows.
  • It is interesting how development of synchronized applications is leapfrogging smartphones to tablets due to the larger screen and sexy interface.  There is no technical reason why these apps could not be designed to run on iPhones or PCs and reach more users.  Are we skating to where the puck will be or caught up in the excitement of a shiny new toy?  Either way, a strategic decision has been made to build out iPad apps and learn lessons rather than go for immediate reach.
  • Will these synchronized apps stand the test of time, or at least 5 years?  How will we view them in 2016? How do you view iTV efforts from 2006?  Trivia: I was working for Belo Interactive in Dallas when the Digital Convergence :CueCat scanner and audio tone rolled out in 2000.  That did not stand the test of time, but the same concepts are still around in the form of audio watermarking and smartphone apps to scan bar codes and QR codes. Everything old is new again.

Final Content Count for this episode:

  • Preview Photos: 4
  • Forensics Lab evidence: 16 (10 still images, 5 videos, 1 slideshow)
  • Brennan Translator: 3 images with translation text
  • This Week’s Question poll: 1
  • Royal Diner Jukebox: 1 song preview
  • Dr. Sweets Diary: 1

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