Whereas the Newsstand in previous version of iOS looked like a bookshelf hosting a row of magazine covers, the new version is opaque, showing only a diagrammatic representation of generic magazine covers.
… But what’s worse for publishers is that there is now no visual reminder within the Newsstand icon that there are publications inside, waiting to be read. On top of that, in iOS7 users can now hide the Newsstand icon inside a folder. The once-special treatment that Apple gave publishers in order to encourage the distribution of magazines to the iPhone and iPad had apparently vanished, at least in terms of visual prominence.
The problems with Newsstand go even deeper on the technical and economic side:
- Auto-renewing subscriptions, which launched as effectively Newsstand-exclusive, are now permitted in any app that sells content or services that fit within Apple’s (vague, arbitrary, and capricious) permitted categories for auto-renewal.
Background downloads and silent
content-availablepush notifications could only be used in Newsstand apps prior to iOS 7. But under iOS 7, these are available to all apps.
Adding insult to injury, the new
NSURLSessionbackground-download system is much better than Newsstand’s old
NKAssetDownloadsystem, and during the iOS 7 beta, Newsstand developers were told to stick with their old system and not use the new one.
I see no benefit to magazines being in Newsstand anymore. Newsstand apps now have no meaningful exclusive abilities, and iOS 7 effectively buries them in a bland, opaque folder that’s easily hidden.
I don’t think there’s a good way for existing Newsstand apps to leave it without losing all of their subscriptions, but if I were making a new publication app today, I’d stay out of Newsstand and just make it a regular app.