28 February 2012
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Learn how to create a subscription viewer app that appears in Newsstand, which makes your app easier to discover and offers other advantages such as background downloading. If you have an existing multi-issue viewer, learn how to edit your app to enable it for Newsstand.
Don't want to charge for content? Not to worry. You can create a Newsstand app with Free Subscriptions.
You'll also learn how to take the necessary measures to avoid the all-too-frequent rejection notice of your app.
Note: This guide is intended for publishers who have already created a custom viewer app. If you have not already created a custom viewer app, you should read the "Publishing Companion Guide for the iPad PDF" instead of this document. The Companion Guide PDF is available for download on the DPS Dashboard. It walks you through the entire process of building custom viewers, including viewers enabled for Newsstand.
Apple Newsstand (iOS5 and later only) is a collection of subscription apps—newspapers, magazines, journals (see Figure 1). When you enable a viewer app for Newsstand, the app no longer appears as a standalone app on the Home page. Instead, your app appears in the Newsstand shelf along with other subscription apps.
Newsstand offers another way for your potential customers to discover your app. And once they download and subscribe to your app, Newsstand automatically updates folios you publish in the background—complete with the latest covers.
All Newsstand apps must be subscriptions apps—either free or retail. Single-issue viewer apps cannot appear in Newsstand.
If you already have an existing DPS viewer app—either a multi-issue or multi-issue subscription—in the Apple store, and you want to make it available in Newsstand, you have a little bit of work ahead of you. Here's a brief overview of the necessary steps:
To convert your multi-issue app into a Newsstand subscription app, you must use the iOS Provisioning Portal to configure your App ID to enable it for push notifications. You must also create push notification certificates for the development and production (distribution) apps.
If your viewer app is already enabled for push, skip this section.
The Viewer Builder requires .p12 certificates for both the development and production apps. The process for creating these certificates is similar to the process for creating the certificates for the development and distribution apps. If you need more information on the back-and-forth process between the iOS Provisioning Portal and the Keychain Access utility, see the "Publishing Companion Guide for the iPad PDF" available for download on the DPS Dashboard.
You'll need to specify these .p12 push notification files when you enable Newsstand in Viewer Builder.
If you configured your App ID to enable push, the .mobileprovision files you previously created are no longer valid. It's easy to create new ones. Again, you don't need to create new .p12 certificates for your development and distribution apps unless those certificates have expired.
You'll need to specify these new .mobileprovision files when creating your viewer app in Viewer Builder.
Selling folios in your app requires you to set up in-app purchases on the Apple Developer site. Retail subscription apps require two types of in-app purchases: in-app purchases for individual folios and in-app purchases for subscription durations.
If you have a multi-issue viewer app with retail folios, you've already set up the in-app purchases for retail folios. But if you're converting the viewer app to a subscription app, you'll need to create an in-app purchase for subscription durations (see Figure 2). For retail subscription apps, this is called an "Auto-Renewable Subscription."
If you already created in-app purchases for retail folios, skip this section.
When you're charging money for a retail subscription, you must make sure that each retail folio has an in-app purchase set up.
For more details on setting up in-app purchases, see the "Publishing Companion Guide for the iPad PDF" available for download on the DPS Dashboard.
If you already created a in-app purchase for subscription durations, skip this section.
Use the In App Purchase process on iTunes Connect to set up Apple subscriptions. Apple calls a subscription an "Auto-Renewable Subscription."
When you create a subscription, you generate a shared secret, which is a unique code that lets the app communicate with in-app purchase receipts. Specify this shared secret using the Account Administration tool, and then open the Folio Producer Organizer to register the shared secret. You can use the same shared secret for multiple apps.
When you use Viewer Builder to create your subscription app, you specify the duration Product IDs in the Subscription Details panel.
If your viewer app has not been approved or previously did not contain retail content, your first in-app purchases must be submitted with a new app version. Select them from the In-App Purchases section of the Version Details page in iTunes Connect, and then click Ready to Upload Binary.
You don't have to sell retail content to get your folio in Newsstand. iGizmo Magazine has a free subscription version of their magazine in Newsstand (see Figure 3).
When you use Viewer Builder to create your subscription app, you select Free and specify the Product ID in the Subscription Details panel.
Apple requires you to use iTunes Connect to enable an app for Newsstand. Do this before you submit your distribution viewer app to Apple.
For each folio that will appear in your Newsstand app, use the Add Issue feature to add the folio and specify a cover image. The cover image you specify is not used. Instead, the folio's cover image is used.
At this point, you should have everything set up on the Apple side to create a subscription app. You should have an App ID configured for push notifications, .p12 push notification certificates, and new mobileprovision files. For a retail Newsstand app, each retail folio must have an in-app purchase set up, and you must have an in-app purchase for one or more subscription durations. For a free Newsstand app, you just need to set up a Free Subscription Product ID. The Viewer Builder requires all these files.
The Viewer Builder also requires a few other files for your Newsstand subscription app. Create the following files:
Now that you have all the files you need, it's time to build the new version of your viewer. Unless your previous version of the app was a subscription app, you need to create a new instance of the viewer rather than editing the current instance.
The final step is to submit your new version to Apple. If the previous version of your app was not a subscription, you need to complete a few extra steps to make sure that Apple approves the new version.
With non-Newsstand apps, push notifications display a red badge on the app icon. However, with Newsstand apps, push notifications simply triggers a background download and a new cover image to appear. For more information on push notification options, see Using Apple push notifications with Digital Publishing Suite.