Reading Newspapers and Magazines on Your iPhone

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

Your iPhone gives you options for catching up on your newspapers and magazines of choice. Those in the newspaper business know that it’s been tough sledding in recent years. The Internet has proved to be a disruptive force in media, as it has in so many other areas.

It remains to be seen what role Apple generally, and the iPhone specifically, will play in the future of electronic periodicals or in helping to turn around sagging media enterprises. It’s also uncertain which pricing models will make the most sense from a business perspective.

Reading newspapers and magazines on the iPhone is not like reading newspapers and magazines in any other electronic form. The experience can be slick, but only you can decide whether it’s worth paying the tab (in the cases where you do have to pay).

Don’t look for newspapers and magazines in the iBooks app’s iBooks Store. Periodicals are not considered books and are handled differently.

Newspaper and magazine apps

You can follow two paths to subscribe to or read a single issue of a newspaper or magazine. The first includes several fine publishing apps worth checking out, including USA TODAY (where Ed works), The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Thomson Reuters News Pro, BBC News, and Popular Mechanics.

You can also fetch the free Zinio app, which offers publications including Rolling Stone, The Economist, Macworld, PC Magazine, Car and Driver, National Geographic, Spin, Business Week, and Sporting News. You can buy single issues of a magazine or subscribe, and sample and share some articles without a subscription.

You have to pay handsomely or subscribe to some of these newspapers and magazines, and most (if not all) of them contain ads (somebody has to pay the freight).

News

The second path to periodicals is iOS 10’s overhauled News app, which replaced iOS 8’s Newsstand app. Now you have a single app that gathers news articles, images, and videos you might be interested in and displays them in a visually appealing fashion. Participating publishers at launch include ESPN, The New York Times, Hearst (publisher of Bob’s newspaper, the Houston Chronicle), Time, Inc., CNN, Condé Nast, and Bloomberg.

The first time you launch the app, you’ll select some topics that interest you. Then, News creates a customized real-time newsfeed with stories it expects you to be interested in. The more you read, the better its suggestions will be, or at least that’s what Apple says.

It’s too soon to tell how many publishers will adopt the News paradigm, how many will choose custom apps or Zinio, and how many will do more than one. Stay tuned.