Apple Newsstand changes for publishers

This is a guest blog post from Tom Stone, Development Manager here at YUDU. Tom is responsible for development strategy and as such, has written this update for YUDU clients with apps on the newsstand.

You may or may not be aware that Apple’s WWDC event is happening on at the moment in San Francisco. Each year, this event showcases the next version of iOS and OS X, in this case, iOS 9, with lots of new features and improvements.

As part of this year’s announcement, Apple are removing Newsstand from iOS 9 onwards. Newsstand, whilst being an initially promising feature (separating periodical-based apps from others and adding dynamic features), often proved harder to discover than apps in the App Store. In addition, Apple (as you may know), offered no way back – if you created a Newsstand App, you couldn’t change the app back to an App Store app. This fragmented how people and publishers engage with the app store, causing confusion in the long run.

Whilst Apple haven’t revealed a lot of information yet about how Newsstand retirement will be rolled out – they have suggested that there isn’t any cause for panic – the apps will still function, but will now appear as normal apps in the App Store.

In a nutshell, the Newsstand is a category on the App Store, and a special sort of folder on iOS that you can’t delete. Some of the technology behind the scenes is nice, but more and more of that has been moved to be available to non-Newsstand apps too, so from a technical perspective there’s very little discrepancy between the broader app store category and the newsstand now.

The other part of Apple’s announcement is around Apple News which works similarly to Flipboard, a hugely successful app in its own right. It takes in specially formatted content (initially RSS, but later an Apple–specific format), and presents it to the user in a nicely designed way – think of it as mixing multiple web content sources into a single nice looking, slick, feed.

We expect this to be a value added service for publishing companies, rather than a huge revenue earner, and likely also used to promote other forms of the same content, such as websites and perhaps their dedicated apps (although we don’t yet know what’s allowed here).

YUDU will be carefully monitoring Apple News to see if it’s something we feel can add value for some of our clients in the coming months.

Categories: Apps

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