The Loop Magazine app is dead

It is with tremendous sadness that I write this post today. I have tried to figure out a way for The Loop Magazine app to work on the App Store, for the last few months. It turns out, it just won’t. This morning, I removed the app from the App Store.

I will continue to publish to make up for the missing issues over the last few months.

When Apple started Newsstand, I thought it was a way to reach readers with unique content, pay writers well for their content, and create a great experience on an iOS app. I guess I should have realized when Apple killed Newsstand that it was over, but I pressed on. That was a mistake on my part.

Chris Harris and Mateusz Stawecki created what I believe to be the best publishing and reading experience on iOS, and I thank them for that. However, the App Store is not a place for independent publishers.

My struggles are no different from any other developer on the App Store. If you have a game or social media app, you’re golden in Apple’s eyes. Anything else, forget it. (Unless you’re a big publisher, then you’re golden too).

I hate failure, and this was a failure for me. I will learn from it and focus my attention back on The Loop website, where it belongs. I’m sorry to the subscribers of the magazine, and hope you enjoy the upcoming issues I have prepared for you.



  • Very sorry to hear that. The platform and writing were first class. The App Store has changed the market for small to medium developers, and in my opinion certainly not for the better.

    • Stirlol

      It is extremely hard to “break” into. As a very small studio we have zero marketing budget, mostly using social media to drive traffic to our stuff…

      Worst is the “seemingly psychic” phenomena, as soon as you start working on a great new idea often many other developers are onto it too, and God help you if a Zynga or EA level does so – you have no hope of installs or noticed.

      More worrying to me, at a recent wedding I had created a Scope (check them out, great app) for the function and very few to zero people had any apps apart from 1st party, rocking 6S’s and don’t know about touch – they’re Pink though!

      250 million devices, probably 200 of them don’t know their iTunes pass or ever want to spend / don’t have credit or don’t want to “lock themselves in to iOS” – even common amongst some of my extremely wealthy friends, who’ve had iPhones and iPads since day one yet Refuse to spend even a dollar. /rant /vent over 😉

  • Domicinator

    Is the lack of updates or new issues for months on end while still charging users a monthly fee also Apple’s fault? I feel like the blame isn’t solely on the App Store here.

  • auramac

    As big a fan I am of all involved, I found the whole process too confusing and high maintenance to keep track of. Plus money. We like free, or one-time payments, in-app purchases and music or other subscriptions are the least desirable interactions I can think of on iOS.

  • alandanziger

    Just let us know whether we should cancel the subscriptions once you’ve stopped publishing, or if Apple/iTunes Store will do so for us… Thanks for your work & effort.

  • I loved the Loop Magazine. Not only the content, the reading experience was great, too. But, honestly I cancelled my subscription after couple months without fresh issues.

    I know from own experience that it’s hard to keep on track, but when you run a magazine you’d fire up new issues on a VERY regular basis.

    When I subscribed on day one I thought “Great idea and concept! Hope they’ll make it. If Jim and his fellows don’t make it, nobody will.” And now it’s gone. Sad!

    Long lives The Loop! 😉 Cheers,

    Thomas GeekOut.de

  • Hammy1872

    Man, sorry to hear this. I enjoyed reading the publication, even though the content had been sparse lately. It was a high quality digital publication, by exceptional writers and I hope you find a way to make it happen in another form, going forward. Would appreciate to know if we have to cancel subscription, or if Apple cancel it for us. I’m pretty disappointed in Apple with this, and I hope they take note of the issues surrounding your situation, and for others in a similar position.

  • wibble

    The focus should never have been other than the website.

  • Craig Grannell

    Sorry to see it go, and I look forward to your renewed vigour regarding this website, which I still consider one of the very best of its kind.

    (On the app, I notice it crashes on launch now—or at least does for me. A pity if you can’t even delve into back issues. Alas…)

  • davekaplan

    I enjoyed every issue of your magazine that I read. I think you do an outstanding job with the website, and I would pay a monthly fee if you asked for it.

  • Mo

    This isn’t your failure. It’s Apple’s.

    • Stirlol

      If such a huge site or relevant to apple site cannot get subscribers from their readership then yeah you have to think… It was high quality and good to read.

    • Jay

      Was it Apple’s fault that he didn’t publish an issue for months but still kept taking subscription payments? If someone else did that then they would be getting called out and shamed on here.

      No matter what the content is a magazine is going to be hard to launch when there is so much free content now. Don’t blame Apple.

      • Domicinator

        Anyone who subscribed to this publication over the last year or two got swindled. I think in its final 12 months of being on the App Store, only two or three actual issues came out. At one point he posted here saying it was due to personal issues. Now it’s Apple’s fault. This is a complete joke.

        • Talk about kicking someone when he’s down. Swindled? Dude, that implies fraud. Surely you’ve chosen your words poorly here. He’s clearly offered to make it right with subscribers by publishing content to make up for what’s been missing. As frustrating as it is for those involved, it’s clear that they tried hard–probably too hard, given how Apple has mismanaged this product line. One last thing: when someone cites personal issues and you know zero details other than that they are a tiny operation with no margins for error, cut them some slack.

          Jim: if you’re reading this, never apologize for failure. You’re a damn good writer and you deserved better than what’s happened here.

          • Jay

            He had time to appear on all those podcasts, writeon here, go to events but no time to do his magazine.

            If you can’t publish then stop taking the money. Unethical and out of order imo.

          • jksak3

            You’re in no position to be lecturing anyone else about ethics, considering what you’re doing here.

          • kev2basicguy

            Yeah sure – don’t apologize for your failures and learn from them, and all that good stuff…., but if you are taking money and not delivering, then you surely have to apologize to those who paid, which to be honest, he is kind of doing in this post, which i appreciate.

            Also let’s be honest here – if another site/app had done this, it will be taken to task – rudely and rightly so, right here on this site. So you have to hold yourself to the same high standards.

  • Stirlol

    Sorry to hear that, I was a subscriber for a while but let it lapse when my budget became That Low. – what about publishing it via the News.app and then you can get some advertiser money? Not sure if that’s worthy ROWork don’t know the figures.

  • Sad news but I’m sure the experience will benefit us all in the long run.

  • Oluseyi
    When Apple started Newsstand, I thought it was a way to reach readers with unique content, pay writers well for their content, and create a great experience on an iOS app. I guess I should have realized when Apple killed Newsstand that it was over, but I pressed on.……the App Store is not a place for independent publishers.

    Sorry to be critical, but I hear this “blame Apple” refrain from indie app devs all the time, too, and I can’t take it seriously. I think you and they assume that Apple is invested in perpetuating the business models of your preference, the ones that place the least burden on you. I think you aren’t doing a good enough job of adapting to the App Store as it is, rather than as you wish it was.

    Basically, I don’t think you—or indie app devs—are treating your products like businesses. And that’s not Apple’s fault.

  • Costa K

    Newsstand was such a UI disaster. And I’ve found magazine apps like Zinio only slightly better.

    How you managed to survive as long as you did is a testament to your determination.

  • Sad news, and my heart goes out to all writers/etc. involved, but my take on this is less about Apple/Newsstand per se and more along the lines of: Open Web +1, Proprietary Content Platform -1

    Not the first time this has happened, won’t be the last.

  • I am avid reader of your site Jim. Please start a subscription here so that way we can support you. $1-$3 a month is something I would love to contribute.

    The Loop is an everyday read for me and you are a great writer whose opinion I enjoy. Keep up the great work!

    • SV650

      See the ‘Membership’ link in the sidebar.