With the advent of iOS 5 that arrived for the iPad in the last few months came a number of core enhancements and features. The most prevalent is the Apple Newsstand that gives a dedicated space for magazine companies to sell their wares. Until the newsstand came into being, customers had to rely on 3rd party partners such as Zinio. Many publishing and magazine companies are seeing huge increases in their subscribers, all thanks to Apple.
Popular Science, which is a great publication that I just recently got into, has seen its subscriber base increase by almost 11,000 in the few short months since the newsstand arrived. Many companies do not release sales figures, but they are seeing dramatic increases across the board.
So how does the Newsstand work? Basically, it’s a library shelf on which all of your magazines are indexed. You can think of the magazines as dedicated applications that normally range from 50 MB to 500 MB. When you subscribe to a publication, the new issues are automatically synced in the background so you don’t normally have to download each issue manually. Before the newsstand took off, many people found their app screens cluttered with individual applications. Newsstand easily puts them all in one place and gives you a portal to a dedicated section on iTunes to browse for new magazines.