Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Final Straw for Newsstand

Marko Karppinen:

For years, I’ve argued that choosing Newsstand is the best thing—the right thing—to do when publishing periodical content within the Apple ecosystem. But with the redesigned app, and with automatic content downloads no longer a being a Newsstand exclusive, the balance has finally shifted.

We think publishers should skip Newsstand and publish their iOS apps as regular non-Newsstand apps instead.

There is one final reason for this recommendation. If you publish your app outside the Newsstand section, you can always switch to Newsstand later. The opposite is not true.

Update (2013-10-16): Glenn Fleishman:

Put bluntly, Newsstand is a ghetto. Readers complain to me regularly about forgetting to read The Magazine, even though we use iOS notifications for each issue. If readers don’t read immediately and don’t remember to tap the Newsstand icon later, they forget about us entirely.

Update (2013-10-18): Glenn Fleishman:

I realized that I could provide a way to link our Web site to the app via an icon through a simple Web page. I create a page that has the app icons referenced in the top, but also uses the ancient “refresh” option: a browser waits a specified number of seconds and then redirects to a specified URL. Apps can have a URL schema name in iOS; The Magazine’s is the-magazine.

Thus, I created a page that, when visited, automatically redirects the browser instantly to the-magazine:// — this opens the app if it’s installed in iOS. That doesn’t seem useful, though, right? The point is to get an app icon on the home screen! Ah, but it does work. It just takes an extra step for the user.

Update (2014-04-28): Jason Snell:

Newsstand was one of iOS 5’s banner features when it was introduced back in 2011, but its time has come and gone. What was intended to be a special collection of apps has, instead, become a second-class collection. That’s why it would be better for everyone concerned—Apple, users, app developers, and publishers (including Macworld)—if Newsstand just vanished.

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