iOS 5 — And Newsstand — Go Live Next Week

Buried in the headlines following this week’s untimely passing of Steve Jobs is the news that Apple will release iOS 5 next Wednesday, Oct. 12. It’s an exciting (and free) upgrade for users of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The Notification Center, iMessage, Reminders and the integration of Twitter are all exciting new features.

Most exciting for journalists, however, is Newsstand.

Newsstand manages your subscriptions to iOS versions of newspapers and magazines. It will alert you when there’s a new issue available. It even displays the covers on a rack — like a real newsstand. It’s like a dynamic version of iBooks.

Apple’s line of mobile devices have become popular ways for people to consume newspapers and magazines. Some magazines, like Wired, have enhanced their apps, turning the print magazine into a multimedia experience.

Newsstand will be great for publishers and consumers alike. Reading newspapers and magazines on an iOS device will be easier, updates will be automatic and this content will be featured a lot more prominently than it is now.  This prominence is long-deserved for publishers, who have invested lots of time, money and human resources into bringing their publications to iOS.

It will be interesting to see if digital subscriptions to these publications increases following the roll-out of iOS 5 and Newsstand. IBooks seems to encourage me to read e-Books on my iPad. Perhaps Newsstand will have the same effect for newspapers and magazines.

I am looking forward to downloading iOS 5 on Wednesday, and can’t wait to give the Newsstand a test drive.