Manufacturing guy-at-large.

My Beef with iOS Newsstand

Added on by Spencer Wright.

I made a lame attempt to describe why I'm not a fan of the iOS Newsstand app last weekend, and thought a bit about it afterwards. Quickly, here are my thoughts:

The problem with Newsstand is that it begins with the base assumption that periodicals constitute a meaningful subcategory of content distribution media. 

Part of the lesson of the past few decades is [citation needed] that consumers don't care about distribution platforms. They're perfectly happy watching TV on their computers, reading newspapers on their iPads, and listening to talk "radio" shows as Podcasts. They'll happily trade their coffee table books for Tumblr blogs, and have little qualms skipping the bar and finding a date on a smartphone app.

Newsstand somehow misses this. It tries to package and export the entire magazine experience onto my phone, ignoring the myriad ways that I've found to consume content there and instead setting up a walled garden within which I'm allowed to view periodicals. 

In my perfect world, periodicals would integrate seamlessly into Pocket or Instapaper. My subscription to the New Yorker should automatically download new articles to those apps, where I can decide when and where to consume them. Pocket is where I do nearly all of my written media consumption, and I see no reason why periodicals should be any different.