Issuu set to release first iOS app for its digital newsstand of free magazines and newspapers
Issuu’s app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad includes many of the new features found in iOS 8 such as Handoff and interactive push notifications
The e-magazine newsstand and digital publishing platform Issuu is set to release its first app for iOS devices today. The company, founded in Denmark in 2006, is now headquartered in Palo Alto.
Back in 2010, Issuu’s previous app submissions were rejected by Apple, with some tech sites blaming Apple for not wanting the competition. Another theory was that the Issuu app would duplicate what Apple had in mind for its own Newsstand app (though describing the Newssstand as an “app” isn’t really accurate). After three tries to get something approved Issuu gave up and concentrated on its website and Android, where its app has been in the Google Play store since January of this year.
One possible objection with Issuu has been that magazines can be uploaded to the service from users who are not the publisher. The company says that those who use the service must agree to the company’s terms of service, but that doesn’t seem to be preventing copies of TIME magazine, for instance, from appearing in the Issuu digital newsstand from sources other than Time Inc.
Now Issuu is giving iOS another try, and this time their app has been approved by Apple’s App Store team.
Issuu allowed TNM a sneak peak and the app is beautiful, smooth to navigate, and filled with tons of titles (Issuu’s website claims the service has over 15 million magazine titles available).
“We are thrilled to bring a truly elegant content discovery experience to readers with the release of our app,” Issuu CEO Joe Hyrkin said. “We’ve really tried to stretch the limits of what’s possible on a mobile device and iOS 8 provides the perfect environment to create a great experience for readers. We are ecstatic to connect publishers who are producing fantastic content to readers who are eager to consume content through mobile devices.”
Behind the scenes, the new app takes advantage of new features Apple has introduced with iOS 8 such as Handoff, which allows readers to begin reading a magazine on one devices and continue where they left off on another. Sssue also mentions other features such as an improved personalization algorithm, interactive notifications, enhanced search tools for finding content, one-touch sharing, and an offline reading list.
Magazines are organized by what Issuu calls Stacks. The user can not access all Stacks unless they agree to sign into the app via Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+, or have or create an issuu account. If not, the reader can still see the Featured Stacks seen on the home page. There are also Staff Picks and Featured Publishers. The reader can also simply search for their favorite titles.
Like many other independent digital newsstands, Issuu’s newsstand features PDF replicas of the print magazines, which means the reader will be very dependent on pinch-to-zoom in order to read their magazines on an iOS device. For me, this remains the Achilles’ heel of many digital newsstands.
But Issuu’s new iOS app is very nicely designed, easy to use, and is also attempts to address the issue of discoverability.
“Issuu offers at scale what other platforms have failed to address, a true ecosystem of discovery, not of what you can already find everywhere else, and offers a depth and breadth of content that extends far beyond the same daily fodder churned out by countless aggregated RSS feed based platforms,” the company said through its press person.