Newsstand is for Written Content

German version here / Deutsche Version hier

NewsstandI tried submitting an app that plays back an audio podcast as a Newsstand app to benefit from the Newsstand-only features, true background downloading and dynamic covers. A long shot, I know, but someone had to try.

After two very long rounds of reviews and a App Review Board appeal, the app was rejected after 5 weeks for “not being primarily written content”.

This requirement could be implied by the way Newsstand looks and feels, of course. But nowhere in the semi-public review guide or in the dev agreements do they actually say it. When following the documentation’s requirements literally is not enough, Apple has to work on their public review guide. Developers need clarity up front about what is acceptable and what is not.

I have a feeling that there are a lot of obscure new guidelines in place at App Review and the documentation available to developers is very incomplete.

Another guideline that I was made aware of: “Don’t use wooden shelves for your Newsstand app.” Wooden shelves are for the Newsstand folder only. Oh, and iBooks. But you really don’t want to use shelves in your app. For magazines. Silly you.

Meanwhile, one-star rip-off apps claiming to provide services that are impossible under iOS (custom lock screens etc.) are on top of the sales charts.

Apps are the new channels, but meanwhile podcasting is getting shoved further back every year in the iTunes Store. Getting a little worried about Apple’s intentions there.

Right now, the podcast directory still is maintained, but I see this going the way of the dodo. If you don’t have your own app to distribute your content, sooner or later, you may be out of luck. (Need one? Ask us.)