Newsstand, introduced in iOS 5, has long been something that I personally wish I could hide, and never see again. I found it useless – until a certain app by a certain noted developer came along. That app, Marco Arment’s The Magazine, utilizes Newsstand in an innovative way – much in the way that Instapaper does, The Magazine focuses on the content of the writing and the few photos that are included, instead of the traditional, magazine-like layout that so many other applications try their hardest to mimic. And while The Magazine isn’t perfect, it does represent a major step forward (in my opinion, at least) in terms of the usefulness of Newsstand. Hopefully, The Magazine will be the catalyst that was needed, and kickstart an explosion in innovative, interesting applications focused around subscription-based, readable content.
But that could likely be wishful thinking: the current truth of the matter is that Newsstand plays home to a host of bloated, uninteresting publications who are poorly equipped to handle the mobility of both the iPhone and iPad. And while The Magazine represents a bright light in an otherwise desolate landscape, the large, entrenched publications are unlikely to back away from the traditional format that has served them well for years: striking photos, controversial text, and ads – mix it all together, and you have a profit.
So, dear reader: do you use Newsstand, or are you the type to immediately search for a way to tuck the folder-app away?