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Posts tagged with "apple news"

Apple Recaps Its 2020 Services, Including the App Store’s Record-Breaking Holiday Season

In a press release today, Apple provided an update on its services. According to Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services:

Now more than ever before, customers around the world have found inspiration and value in the breadth and quality of Apple’s services, which have impacted their lives in big and small ways every day. We’re incredibly optimistic about where we’re headed, and we believe that the opportunities for developers and the creative community are endless, as are the positive and meaningful benefits to our customers.

Among the highlights Apple shared are App Store revenue numbers for the 2020 holiday season, which were greater than 2019 for the same period and once again set an all-time record for single-day sales on New Year’s Day:

The trend continued over the holiday season, with App Store customers spending $1.8 billion on digital goods and services over the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, driven largely by spending on games. Customers ushered in 2021 by setting a new single-day spending record of over $540 million on New Year’s Day.

Apple also noted that developers have earned more than $200 billion since the inception of the App Store in 2008 and that it kicked off the App Store Small Business Program at the end of 2020.

In addition to apps, Apple recapped its other services:

  • Apple Music, which added several new features in 2020 that Apple says have been used by more than 90% of iOS 14 users
  • The Apple TV App, which debuted on new smart TVs and videogame consoles in 2020 and is now available on over 1 billion screens in more than 100 countries
  • TV+, which gained a dedicated tab in the TV app and was nominated for 159 awards, receiving 45
  • Apple News, which added local news for certain cities, included special coverage of the pandemic, the racial justice movement, and the US election, and added audio to News+ in 2020
  • Fitness+, which debuted just before the New Year
  • Apple Pay, which Apple says is accepted by more than 90% of US stores, 85% of UK stores, and 99% of Australian stores
  • Apple Arcade, which now has more than 140 games with games that have received more than 50 award nominations
  • Apple Books, which has over 90 million monthly active users
  • Apple Podcasts, which is available in 175 countries and 100 languages
  • iCloud, 85% of whose users have enabled two-factor authentication

Every year I’m struck that the App Store continues to set holiday season records for sales. The success of the App Store has been nothing short of remarkable, but as Apple’s press release demonstrates, Apple’s current services story today extends far beyond apps.


Apple One Subscription Bundles Are Now Available

Today, Apple launched its previously-announced Apple One subscription bundles, which offer the following three combinations of services:

  • Individual – Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage for $14.95
  • Family – Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 200GB of shared iCloud storage for $19.95 for up to six family members
  • Premier – Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Fitness+, Apple News+, and 2TB of shared iCloud storage for $29.95 for up to six family members

Compared to paying for each service separately, the Individual plan saves users $6, the Family plan saves $8, and the Premier plan has the greatest savings at $25 but is only available in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia because News+ is limited to those countries. Apple is also offering a 30-day free trial and 3% cash back if you use the Apple Card.

The Apple One bundle signup flow.

The Apple One bundle signup flow.

You can currently sign up for an Apple One bundle by going to the App Store on an iOS or iPadOS device and tapping your profile picture in the top right corner of the screen. Tap on your profile at the top of the next screen and then Subscriptions, where you should find a banner promoting Apple One.

Moving iCloud Storage from one Apple ID to the another.

Moving iCloud Storage from one Apple ID to the another.

If like me, you have separate Apple IDs for iCloud and media purchases, you will be asked to move your storage plan to the Apple ID you use for iCloud, which cancels the old iCloud Storage subscription.

Signing up for the Premier tier was a no-brainer as someone who already paid for 2TB of storage, a Family Apple Music subscription, and Apple Arcade. News+ isn’t something I was willing to pay for separately, but it’s nice to have, and I’m very interested in trying Fitness+ as the weather gets colder here in Chicago, making outdoor walks and runs more difficult.


Apple One: The Long-Awaited Services Bundle Is Coming Soon in Three Tiers

Today during an event in which Apple revealed new Apple Watch and iPad models, the company also had some big services news to share: to increase adoption of the company’s growing slate of services, a new Apple One bundle will be launching soon to bring together multiple paid services at a discounted price.

Although Apple One doesn’t carry an official release date yet besides simply ‘fall,’ Apple did detail the breakdown of pricing and included services across three different Apple One tiers:

  • Individual: Includes Apple Music, TV+, Arcade, and 50 GB of iCloud storage for an individual at $14.95/month, a savings of $6/month.
  • Family: Also includes Apple Music, TV+, and Arcade, but with 200 GB of iCloud storage and Family Sharing for all services, at $19.95/month for savings of $8/month.
  • Premier: This is the big bundle, including Apple Music, TV+, Arcade, News+, the newly announced Fitness+, as well as 2 TB of iCloud storage for $29.95/month, a savings of $25/month.

The Individual and Family tiers of Apple One will be launching in over 100 countries to reach the widest number of users possible. Premier, however, since it includes services like News+ which are only available in limited territories, will only be available in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia at launch.

When Apple One launches, users will be able to try any of the three tiers with a 30-day free trial for services that they aren’t already paying for. It’s also worth noting that according to Apple’s website, Fitness+ likely won’t be available until after Apple One debuts, since it carries a launch window of ‘Late 2020’ while Apple One is ‘Coming this fall.’

Apple One’s tiered structure makes a lot of sense, and the savings seem pretty enticing, especially for the Premier plan. As someone who already subscribes to every Apple service, Premier will be a no-brainer to me as I’ll gain Fitness+ and a higher iCloud storage plan for less than the $38/month I’m paying right now.


You can follow all of our September event coverage through our September 2020 event hub, or subscribe to the dedicated RSS feed.


Apple Releases iOS 13.6 with Apple News Audio Features and Expanded Local News Coverage, Plus Digital Car Key Support

Today Apple announced big enhancements to its Apple News offerings paired with the launch of iOS 13.6. Apple News is entering the world of audio through two main products: a daily news program called Apple News Today, which is available free to all users, as well as premium audio versions of News+ stories which are exclusive to paying News+ subscribers. iOS 13.6 also introduces curated local news experiences to Apple News in a handful of regions, and brings initial support for the digital car key feature first announced at WWDC.

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Apple News Loses The New York Times

Kellen Browning and Jack Nicas, writing for The New York Times:

The New York Times said on Monday that it was exiting its partnership with Apple News, as news organizations struggle to compete with large tech companies for readers’ attention and dollars.

Starting on Monday, Times stories were no longer appearing alongside other publications’ articles in the curated Apple News feed available on Apple devices.

The Times is one of the first media organizations to pull out of Apple News. The Times, which has made adding new subscribers a key business goal, said that Apple had given it little in the way of direct relationships with readers and little control over the business. It said it hoped to instead drive readers directly to its own website and mobile app so that it could “fund quality journalism.”

This is a major loss for Apple. According to an Apple statement in the piece, the publication “only offered Apple News a few stories a day,” but losing access to the most prestigious newspaper in the US is nonetheless a bad look.

Apple News readers will doubtless still have plenty of quality journalism options to choose from, yet perhaps the most significant problem for the company is that this move may inspire other partners to follow suit. Apple’s 125 million monthly News readers are a formidable audience, and few publishers have near the clout of The New York Times and thus can’t necessarily afford to take similar risks. However, Apple News has long held a reputation – fair or not – for failing to be very profitable for most publications, so this move could indeed spark a larger exodus if Apple doesn’t work hard to keep its partners happy.

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Apple News Debuts Daily Email Newsletter

Benjamin Mayo, reporting for 9to5Mac:

Apple News is expanding its mail notifications with a new ‘Good Morning’ daily newsletter. Previously, users could opt in to receive email alerts from Apple News about select featured stories. The company appears to be formalizing that into a regular daily newsletter.

If you were already signed up to receive emails from Apple News, you’ll now receive this new daily newsletter; personally, I never cared for the previous emails focusing on featured stories, but this newsletter looks more suited to my interests, so I’ve just signed up. Here’s how the first new email describes itself:

Welcome to the new Apple News email, now coming to your inbox every morning with top news, smart analysis, and fascinating features. We’ll bring you the best stories from the most trusted sources — everything you need to be informed (and entertained) as you start your day. Enjoy!

Apple News used to have a digest section where, at different times during the day, you could get a quick overview of several important stories of the day in a similar curated fashion to what this newsletter represents. The digest disappeared following the debut of Apple News+, which is a shame because it was one of my favorite features of the app. I’m hopeful this newsletter will serve as an adequate replacement, despite not being quite as convenient as the in-app digest.

If you’d like to start receiving the newsletter, or you’re already subscribed but don’t like the idea of a daily email, you can visit appleid.apple.com and adjust your email subscriptions from the ‘Messages from Apple’ page.

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Apple Releases iOS 12.4 Update with Improvements to Apple News, iPhone Migration Tool, and Other Changes But No Apple Card

Apple has released iOS 12.4 with improvements to Apple News, a new iPhone migration tool, support for the HomePod in Taiwan and Japan, and a fix for the security flaw in the Apple Watch’s Walkie-Talkie app.

With the release of version 12.4 of iOS, downloaded magazines in the My Magazines section of the News app are now available for reading online and offline. The catalog of publications in Apple News includes newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, which previously weren’t listed in the catalog. There’s also a new option to clear downloaded magazines from Apple News by selecting History → Clear → Clear All.

In addition to the changes to News, the update introduces an iPhone migration tool that allows users to wirelessly transfer data from an old to a new iPhone during the setup process, support for the HomePod in Taiwan and Japan, and a fix for the security flaw in the Walkie-Talkie Watch app.

It was widely anticipated that iOS 12.4 would introduce the Apple Card, the credit card the company announced in March, but based on early reports, it looks like users will have to wait a while longer before signing up for the card.


Apple News Debuts Candidate Guide for 2020 Democratic Hopefuls

Ahead of the first 2020 Democratic debates, which take place over the next couple days, Apple News has launched a dedicated candidate guide pooling information about each presidential hopeful from a wide variety of sources. News has offered similar election-related hubs in the past, but nothing near as extensive as the candidate guide debuting today.

20 Democratic contenders are profiled in the candidate guide, and with each the News editorial team has assembled a swath of facts, key stances, quotes, and other relevant information meant to ensure future voters are informed amidst a crowded field of prospects.

One of the greatest values of News’ approach is that it summarizes key data in a brief, easy to read format. With minimal time investment you can find out a candidate’s experience, what they’re best known for, their breakout moment, and more. I especially appreciated the straight to the point “You’ll love her/him if you…” and “You’ll leave him/her if you…” factoids.

While there’s certainly a strong dose of editorial work done by Apple’s team in this guide, the key driving force behind each candidate profile is stories from other news sources. In Apple’s press release announcing the candidate guide, the following sources are referenced:

ABC News, Axios, CNN, Fox News, NBC News, Politico, The Hill, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, TIME, USA Today, Vox and others

Each candidate profile is filled with links to stories from these sources and more, with practically every detail listed about a candidate tied directly to an outside link. This approach allows Apple’s editors to summarize key facts and make them easily digestible, all while putting news sources front and center so readers can go deeper on topics they’re interested in.

Besides the general profile information for candidates I’ve already outlined, Apple News also shares which issues are at the core of a candidate’s platform, how the fundraising landscape currently looks among candidates, recent standout news appearances, notable supporters, and more.

Apple News is positioning itself, with features like this candidate guide and other forthcoming 2020 US election coverage, as a trusted source for voters. Laura Kern, the Apple News editor-in-chief, wrote, “we want to offer Apple News readers a trusted place to learn more about candidates…The candidate guide in Apple News is a robust and reliable resource”. The message is clear: while pervasive fake news across other major news platforms was evident in the 2016 election, Apple believes it can offer a news source that’s trusted and reliable leading up to November 2020.

The Democratic candidate guide can be accessed in Apple News via the included link using an iPhone, iPad, or Mac.


StopTheNews Forces Apple News Links to Open in Safari

Developer Jeff Johnson, the maker of StopTheMadness, has released a free Mac utility called StopTheNews that forces Apple News links to open in Safari instead of the News app.

The app works with Safari and Safari Technology Preview by registering itself as the default handler for the Apple News URL scheme. As Johnson explains on his website:

When StopTheNews gets an Apple News URL from Safari, it loads the page invisibly, finds the URL of the original article, and then opens the original article URL in Safari.

For example, this Apple News URL – https://apple.news/APIpuWVOoQQCi6gCg7H8zQg – opens a link on National Geographic’s website instead of in the News app. In my limited testing, StopTheNews works as advertised, opening Apple News links in Safari quickly. I don’t know if it’s possible, but I’d love to see StopTheNews also prevent Safari from asking if you want to open an RSS feed in Apple News when its URL is clicked.

Instead of opening Apple News (left), StopTheNews forces Apple News URLs to open in Safari (right).

Instead of opening Apple News (left), StopTheNews forces Apple News URLs to open in Safari (right).

I understand Apple’s motivations to drive users to its News app, but if I’m already working with links in Safari, having another app open can be annoying. Johnson’s solution is simple but clever, and it’s free, so if you’d prefer using Safari instead of Apple News for News links, check out his utility, which is available on GitHub.