It goes without saying that Newsstand is a controversial topic in the iOS world. Some think it’s a welcome improvement to the ecosystem, while others blame the app for locking their hard work away in limbo.
In 2012, John Gruber said that Newsstand is a place where apps go to be forgotten. Today the Newsstand app is much worse. The folder-like design in iOS 5 and iOS 6 has been replaced with an opaque app icon. The end result is so horrible that it’s hard to avoid thinking it was done maliciously: if someone was tasked with hiding away a set of unwanted apps, they would be likely to come back with a design that was something very much like the iOS 7 Newsstand.
Influential blogger and Instapaper founder Marco Arment definitely isn’t a fan of it.
I see no benefit to magazines being in Newsstand anymore. Newsstand apps now have no meaningful exclusive abilities, and iOS 7 effectively buries them in a bland, opaque folder that’s easily hidden.
I am not overly concerned about that, but I do question why Apple treats the home button differently when you’re in the Newsstand app.
What’s the problem?
From my early days in computing, I always remembered that there was one button that you could press to solve a frozen computer, and that was the reset button. Aside from you not plugging that button in correctly, pressing it always meant that your computer would be forced to restart. Kind of like a get-out-of-jail card. Aside from the issues that could arise from forcing your computer to restart, it was your safety net.
The iPhone’s home button doesn’t restart the phone, but the use of it has always been consistent: you press it, and you’re taken back to your home screen. Aside from situations where an app has crashed badly, you could always rely on the home button to take you home. Until now, that is.
Pressing the home button within the Newsstand app just takes you back to your library of magazines. From there, a second press (finally) takes you back home. Doing the five-finger pinch-to-home gesture on the iPad yields the same result.
So the home button works as a back button in Newsstand? You could argue that Apple didn’t want to include a button to take you back to your magazine library, but if you take a look at the updated iBooks app, there is a button (or should I call it label) there that states “Library” which does just that.
It’s not the end of the world
I could scream bloody murder, but the reality here is that it’s not a big deal, and is probably something that Apple will address in the future. The usual reminder that iOS 7 is still fairly new should be brought up, so while I’m not impressed with this, I’ll continue to press the home button. Twice.
PS: On a related note, the Newsstand app also doesn’t show up in the multitasking list when you press the home button twice in quick succession. What is that about?