On Jony Ive's Newsstand and Publishers

Hamish McKenzie for PandoDaily, on the problems with Newsstand in iOS 7:

For an Apple design, the Newsstand icon looks decidedly juvenile. 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.

In the piece, McKenzie speaks to The Magazine publisher and Executive Editor, Glenn Fleishman.

In my opinion, Newsstand’s (and, for that matter, iBooks’s) iOS 7 redesign is markedly worse than the previous version. I subscribe to a few periodicals, and I find that McKenzie’s comments about the lack of visual reminders to be very problematic are spot on. The iOS 6-style icon was designed in such a way that you could at least “see” what was on the shelf; now, though, I have to badge the icon and open the app to see what’s new. Moreover, I’m not a fan of the new “shelves” within the app; I much prefer the hyper-realistic wood shelves of the old design.

See also: Ben Brooks’s thoughts on this piece, wherein he posits that the problem isn’t Newsstand’s icon, but rather publishers’ content. I agree with Glenn that Ben is wrong; I think the onus is mostly on Apple here to ensure that readers have better access to their stuff — i.e., make Newsstand more transparent, as it was before.

Update 11/29: Marco Arment offers good insight into the technical shortcomings of Newsstand.