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Posts tagged with "apple news"

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.


The Wall Street Journal Details Terms of Partnership with Apple for Apple News+ Service

Lukas I. Alpert, writing for The Wall Street Journal about the terms between The Wall Street Journal and Apple for the newspaper's presence on the Apple News+ service:

The Apple app will surface stories thought to be of interest to a general reader—that could be national news, politics, sports and leisure news, but also some business news, people familiar with the situation said. The paper’s entire slate of business and financial news will also be searchable within the app, but the thinking is that most users won’t consume much beyond what is actively presented to them.

Apple users will have access to only three days’ worth of the Journal’s archive, the people said. The Journal also negotiated terms that would allow it to drop out of the service, they said.

“I have not entered into this deal lightly,” Mr. Lewis said in his newsroom talk. “It was never worth doing a bad deal.”

The whole story, despite being about the WSJ and on the WSJ, is reported as a rumor based on what "people said" about a newsroom staff meeting with William Lewis, chief executive of Dow Jones & Co. and publisher of the Journal. It is, effectively, a case of The Wall Street Journal reporting news about itself as a rumor.

Fortunately, William Lewis himself published an official memo on the Dow Jones press website:

WSJ members will continue to have exclusive access to the rich business reporting and analysis about which they are so passionate. Apple News+ introduces an entirely new category of readers who will have the opportunity to experience a specially curated collection of general interest news from The Wall Street Journal. As a result, our newsroom will grow. This is an investment in quality journalism.

While today’s announcement focuses on Apple News+, our collaboration with Apple will also extend to areas like video, voice, market data and AI. I will have more to share on those plans in the coming weeks and months.

"A specially curated collection of general interest news from The Wall Street Journal" sounds like a smaller selection of what you'd otherwise get with a "real" subscription to the WSJ through the web.

Earlier today I tweeted that with Apple News+ I might be able to stop paying my more expensive subscription to the WSJ and just use the Apple News+ channel instead. Now I'm not so sure I should cancel the subscription after all: I don't like the idea of having three days to catch up on stories I want to read, and it sounds like certain stories will only be available through search. I'm going to keep my standalone WSJ subscription active for now until I fully figure out what the experience in Apple News+ is like.

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A Complete List of All the Magazines Available for Apple News+ in the U.S. (So Far)

Earlier today, Apple launched Apple News+, a new subscription-based service to gain access to hundreds of magazines in the Apple News app for $9.99/month. You can read my overview and first impressions here.

After taking an initial look at Apple News+ with my US Apple ID and noticing the differences between Apple News Format-optimized magazines and standard "PDF-like" ones, I thought it'd be interesting and useful to compile the full list of all magazines currently available to Apple News+ subscribers in the US.

Below, you will find the complete list of all 251 magazines that are available for Apple News+ in the United States. The list was compiled by checking all the magazines featured in the 'Browse the Catalog' section of Apple News+ as well as individual categories. Apple advertises "300 publications" as being available in Apple News+; I believe that the list below is shorter for two reasons:

  • These are only magazines. I didn't count newspapers (The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times) and digital publishers.
  • Apple News+ just launched. Some magazines may not have gone live yet. In fact, I had to add a few more right before posting this article.

To create this list, I manually opened each magazine and annotated whether its latest issue was using Apple News Format or the standard, PDF-like format. Magazines that support Apple News Format are labeled with "(ANF)" in the list. The split between Apple News Format magazines and standard magazines is fairly even: 125 magazines are using the richer Apple News Format in their latest issue, while 126 of them are relying on traditional PDFs (likely the format the old Texture service was using).

In simpler terms, this means that 49.8% of the magazines I counted in this list are using Apple News Format. As I wrote in my overview earlier today, I hope more and more publishers will switch to the mobile-friendly, more versatile Apple News Format in future issues.

That being said, you can find the complete list of 251 magazines I found in Apple News+ below. If I missed any, please let me know.

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Apple Announces Apple News+ Service for Magazines: Our Overview and First Impressions

At the "It's Show Time" media event held earlier today at the Steve Jobs Theater in Apple Park, Cupertino, Apple took the wraps off the highly anticipated Apple News+ subscription service, which will allow users to gain access to over 300 magazines inside Apple News for a single monthly fee of $9.99. Unlike the other services announced by the company at the event, Apple News+ is available now in the United States and Canada as part of the iOS 12.2 and macOS 10.14.4 software updates.

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The Journalists and Processes That Drive Apple News

Today Jack Nicas of The New York Times published a first-of-its-kind in-depth look behind the curtain of how the Apple News journalistic team operates. The piece highlights Apple's distinct handling of the news, where human curation is a larger driving factor than at other major tech companies. Nicas writes:

Apple has waded into the messy world of news with a service that is read regularly by roughly 90 million people. But while Google, Facebook and Twitter have come under intense scrutiny for their disproportionate — and sometimes harmful — influence over the spread of information, Apple has so far avoided controversy. One big reason is that while its Silicon Valley peers rely on machines and algorithms to pick headlines, Apple uses humans like Ms. Kern.

The former journalist has quietly become one of the most powerful figures in English-language media. The stories she and her deputies select for Apple News regularly receive more than a million visits each.

Lauren Kern, the editor in chief of Apple News, heads a staff of journalists that span the globe. One of their chief responsibilities is selecting each day's top stories for the app.

Ms. Kern leads roughly 30 former journalists in Sydney, London, New York and Silicon Valley. They spend their days consuming news across the internet, fielding 100 to 200 pitches a day from publishers, and debating which stories get the top spots.

Ultimately, they select five stories to lead the app, with the top two also displayed in a prominent window to the left of the iPhone home screen. They also curate a magazine-style section of feature stories. The lineup typically shifts five or more times a day, depending on the news.

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Apple Is Building a Media Platform Like Never Before

Have you ever watched the construction of a new building while knowing nothing about what the finished product would be? You track its progress a piece at a time, clueless about the end goal until finally there comes a point when, in a single moment, suddenly it all makes sense.

Apple's media ambitions have been like that for me.

In recent years, Apple has taken a variety of actions in the media space that seemed mostly disconnected, but over time they've added up to something that can't be ignored.

  • 2015: Apple Music and Apple News launched.
  • 2016: Apple Music redesigned; TV app debuted.
  • 2017: App Store revamped with dedicated games section; Apple Podcasts redesigned; TV app adds sports and news.
  • 2018: Apple acquires Texture; iBooks redesigned and rebranded Apple Books.
  • 2019: Apple's video streaming service launches?

Apple already has control of the hardware that media is consumed on, with its ever-expanding iPhone business and suite of complementary products. It has invested significant effort into building the apps media is consumed in, as evidenced above. And finally, it's also building the paid services media is consumed through.

And the company is doing these things at a scale that is unprecedented. Once not long ago, Apple's primary media platform was iTunes. Now, hundreds of millions of users consume media every day through Apple's suite of spiritual successors to iTunes:

  • Apple Music
  • Apple TV (the app)
  • Apple Podcasts
  • Apple Books
  • Apple News
  • And the App Store

Apple has one unified goal, I believe, driving all its media efforts: it aspires to utilize hardware, software, and services to provide the entirety of a user's media experience. If you consume media, Apple wants to provide the full stack of that consumption, from media delivery to media discovery. My aim in this story is to share an overview of how that goal is being fulfilled today.

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Apple Acquires Texture, a Digital Magazine Subscription Service

Today Apple announced the completion of its latest acquisition: Texture, a digital magazine subscription service.

Texture brings over 200 of the world’s best magazines to life, providing an easy way for users to read high-quality stories and entire issues of their favorite titles. With Texture, users enjoy the magazines they know and love, while discovering new content that fits their passions and interests.

Texture's iOS app was previously featured by the App Store editorial team as one of the best apps of 2016. Currently, you can still sign up for the service's $9.99/month subscription. There's no word in Apple's press release regarding whether Texture's existing app will shut down or continue running as-is.

Texture's Netflix-style model of subscription service feels like a perfect fit for future integration in Apple News. Individual subscriptions to publications like The Washington Post are currently available inside News, but this acquisition creates the potential for an official Apple service, similar to Apple Music, that bundles together the various magazine articles included in Texture. With Texture's existing catalog as a starting base, Apple could also be in the market for additional acquisition targets that would serve to beef up a future News-related service before its launch. Texture could just be the beginning.