Hailed as a “kiosk killer” back when it was announced in June at WWDC, there are a few more details available now on the Newsstand app, available Oct. 12 with iOS5.
Despite Apple’s squabbles with publishers who were complaining about selling subscriptions to digital versions on iTunes, many top titles are will be available including The New York Times, GQ, Wired, The New Yorker, Popular Science, National Geographic and Esquire.
This is a pretty nice spread of titles to start with from the dozens of global publishers who signed up for Newsstand — Hearst Corporation, Conde Nast, Disney Worldwide, Europe’s Sanoma Media and the New York Times Corp.
The app auto downloads the latest edition of your subscriptions, ensuring that you have plenty of brain food during that endless airport layover. All of your Newsstand titles “live” in that app, not as separate icons on your phone. (Makes sense, though there are a few people on Twitter with the same question I have, mainly, why it can’t just be a simple folder?)
Apple has softened the “love us or leave us” subscription model – which may have helped convince publishers – making Newsstand an opt-in.
If publishers don’t want to sell subscriptions this way – and give Apple a 30 percent cut – they don’t have to. (Caveat: you better make sure you have an recognizable title, if you don’t go through Newsstand, because you might end up in the “Lifestyle” category, for example.)
Free apps are also eligible to participate in Newsstand, another good way to make sure that Newsstand users have a nice, full bookshelf of reading material.