A couple weeks ago I predicted that Apple’s virtual Newsstand
for iPads and iPhones would provide “a little more convenience
for the user, and a little more discoverability for the publisher
— but nothing here is a game-changer.”
I stand by the first part of that diagnosis, but it’s now clear
there is something game-changing about Newsstand. Since Apple
launched it last week in the latest version of its iOS operating
system, its impact has been immediate and significant. Many
Newsstand apps now rank among the top free apps overall, and
magazine and newspaper apps are benefiting from a surge of
downloads and subscribers.
I think it’s all about prominence and visibility. The iOS home screen is prime real estate. It’s up there with the Google home page. There is no clutter, and Apple is judicious when adding new items. People notice Newsstand. It was the first thing my mom asked me about after she upgraded her iPad to iOS 5.
For power users the Newsstand seems stupid and annoying, I suspect
though that for many non-power users it is more of a “finally”
type system. It makes searching for, downloading, paying for
periodicals very easy.