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Posts tagged with "apple news"

Apple News Format Now Available for All Publishers

Emily Jane Fox, writing for Vanity Fair, yesterday reported that Apple has now opened the Apple News Format to independent publishers:

Apple News’s 40 million users are about to have a lot more articles to read. The iPhone maker announced Tuesday the launch of a new Web-based editing tool that will open its native iOS news platform to independent publishers of all sizes.

Since Apple launched the app in September, it has attracted more than 100 major publishers as partners, including this magazine’s Web site. What the new launch means is that anyone—from individual bloggers to smaller, independent news organizations—will be able to edit and deliver their stories, videos, galleries, and audio in the Apple News format, with Apple News’s reach.

Content can be published in Apple’s News app either via RSS or the Apple News Format. Up until now, the Apple News Format has been invitation-only and limited to large publishers such as Vanity Fair, Vox, and CNN. The advantage for publishers in using the Apple News Format is that it gives them greater control over the look of their stories in the News app, they get detailed analytics information, and can earn revenue through iAd.

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Apple Doesn’t Have Accurate Apple News Reader Statistics

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has mistakenly been underestimating the number of readers using Apple News and providing those inaccurate numbers to publishers:

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, said the company missed the error as it focused on other aspects of the product. The company didn’t explain how the problem occurred or say exactly when it might be rectified.

“We’re in the process of fixing that now, but our numbers are lower than reality,” he said. “We don’t know what the right number is,” but he added that it was better to undercount than overcount traffic.

A curious admission from Apple, particularly given that the issue has not been fixed yet. No details are given about the scale of the miscalculation, so it’s unclear as to whether this will result in a minor adjustment or significant adjustment in reader statistics.

Executives from Apple, including Mr. Cue, met with publishers late last year to discuss the product and address concerns. Mr. Cue said Apple will continue to spend a lot of time getting feedback from publishers.

Two months ago there were a few reports, including this one from Digiday, which noted that publishers were “underwhelmed” and “dissapointed” by Apple News, and the reader numbers.

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Apple News Can Now Feature Top Stories, Curated by Apple News Editors

(L-R) The Apple News launch screen after you update to iOS 9.2, the Top Stories channel in my Favorites section, the For You section which features Top Stories (note the red tag on the right).

(L-R) The Apple News launch screen after you update to iOS 9.2, the Top Stories channel in my Favorites section, the For You section which features Top Stories (note the red tag on the right).

Peter Kafka, writing for Re/code, reports that yesterday’s iOS 9.2 software update also included a big new feature for Apple News:

Apple’s update for its iOS app, which begins rolling out today, has two components. Only one of them will be visible to regular users: Apple’s editors will curate a list of “top stories” they’ll display for all of the apps’ users, at least a couple of times a day.

That’s a change in philosophy from this fall’s launch, when the app was supposed to highlight stories based on each of its users’ tastes and reading behaviors.

That’s still going to happen throughout the day, but in the morning and in the afternoon, Apple will assemble a handful of stories it thinks all of its users would want to see. You know — like a newspaper.

After you install iOS 9.2 and open Apple News for the first time you’ll be given the open of adding ‘Top Stories’ to your Favorites. If you do add it to your favorites, the ‘For You’ section of Apple News will prominently feature articles that Apple editors have deemed to be a top news story for the day. You can also go directly to the Top Stories channel in your Favorites to view all of the top stories in one place.

In my launch review of Apple News I was critical of the overall Apple News experience, which I found to be disappointing. One of my chief complaints was that you couldn’t rely on Apple News to give you all of the day’s big news stories – the lack of human picks and poor automated curation was readily apparent:

Arguably the most frustrating part of For You is the fact you never get a good sense of what the big stories of the day are. To me, this is vital to any news app, website, or service – I don’t just want to read interesting articles that I might like, but I want to know the most important of those stories.

I’ve only spent 20 minutes with iOS 9.2 and the updated Apple News, but early signs are positive. The For You section began with stories which were prominently marked as a “Top Story” and indeed they were (mostly) appropriate. I was pleasantly surprised to see they even have Australian editors, curating the top Australian news stories. So I’m going to give Apple News a second chance and see if it fares any better with the addition of human curated top news stories, and I’ll report back to you all next week.


Apple Publishes New Apple News Format Documentation, Details API

Earlier this week, Apple published new documentation regarding the Apple News Format (via Benedict Evans), which will allow all publishers to deliver native articles with richer experiences to their Apple News channels. Currently, only selected publishers have access to the Apple News Format.

In an updated reference page, Apple describes the Apple News Format, which is still listed as “Coming Soon” for publishers:

Apple News Format is the custom JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) document format for News content. With Apple News Format, you can create beautifully crafted layouts with iOS fonts, rich photo galleries, videos, and animations—all optimized for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

In addition, Apple has detailed an API for publishers on Apple News, which can be used to publish Apple News Format articles as well as “retrieve, update, and delete articles you’ve already published, and get basic information about your channel and sections”. An API reference is available here, and Apple has included links to CMS plugins for WordPress and Drupal.

Last, Apple has also released a News Preview tool for OS X to preview Apple News Format documents in the Xcode simulator. It’s available as a beta download here.

You can read our review of Apple News for iOS 9 here.

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Apple’s iOS 9 News App Review: Broken News

Apple occasionally introduces new apps to iOS that come preinstalled on every device, and with iOS 9 they’ve done this again with the introduction of News. As you would expect from the name, News is, or at least tries to be, a one-stop shop for all your news needs. One way to think of News is a fusion of Google News (for the recommended articles), Flipboard (for the ability to follow publishers and topics), and Facebook’s Instant Articles (custom, gorgeous articles on mobile).

The News app was, to me at least, one of the features of iOS 9 that I was most looking forward to using – I even put that in writing. I was excited about the News app because reading news on an iPhone, although it has improved over time, can still be a frustrating experience jumping from app to app. The experience is even worse with many news websites which chew massive amounts of data and obscure the small display with a myriad of annoying ads. News, as it was demoed at WWDC, offered a promising alternative: a one-stop app that would deliver “the articles you want to read in a beautiful and uncluttered format, while respecting your privacy”.

Much like Apple’s past experiments in bringing news to iOS,1 the News app in iOS 9 fails to live up to its potential. The high hopes that I had for the News app have unfortunately been (mostly) dashed. Whilst there are aspects of great execution in some limited areas, huge aspects of News seem half-baked and confused.

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Apple News and the Open Web

Daniel Jalkut perfectly encapsulates my thoughts on why I want MacStories to show up in Apple News and take advantage of connecting with more people:

Whether it’s music, apps, podcasts, or, coming very soon, syndicated blog content, you’d have to be a fool not to try to get your work into their customer-facing channels. In the case of podcasts, and as it seems with “News,” doing so means providing a feed that points to content you own and which you store on your server.

As long as I don’t have to relinquish control of my RSS feed and the words I write, I’m all for experimenting with aggregators that can bring our articles to different audiences. I’m intrigued by Apple News.

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Apple News to Have Human Editors, Curation

Jordan Kahn, writing for 9to5Mac on a job listing that indicated Apple News is going to have human editors in addition to algorithms:

Apple’s job listing notes that News editors will be responsible for gathering “the best in breaking national, global, and local news.” They will also be working firsthand with publications to “drive relationships with some of the world’s leading newsrooms, ensuring that important breaking news stories are surfaced quickly, and enterprise journalism is rewarded with high visibility.” And Apple won’t just be curating stories from the big players. It also mentions a focus on surfacing original content from “the largest to the smallest” publishers. News editors will also track social media for breaking stories, according to the job listing, and “recognize and communicate key content trends to senior management.”

And here’s Dan Moren for Six Colors:

But what fascinates me here is the bigger message: that the most profitable and arguably most powerful technology company in the world firmly believes that technology alone simply isn’t good enough for these sorts of determinations. I don’t think it’s necessarily a view you’d hear espoused at the highest levels of Google, for example.

First thought I had: I’m curious to see how they will curate the Technology section in Apple News.

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Apple News Overview

Apple today announced that coming with iOS 9 this Fall would be a new default app; News. As you would expect, News will collect and recommend news articles for you to read on your iPhone or iPad, based on what you like to read. The features of the News app are reminiscent of Google News (for the recommended articles), Flipboard (the ability to follow publishers and topics) and Facebook’s recent launch of Instant Articles (custom, gorgeous articles on mobile).

“News seamlessly delivers the articles you want to read in a beautiful and uncluttered format, while respecting your privacy, because Apple doesn’t share your personal data,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We already have nearly 20 publishers representing more than 50 titles joining us, including Condé Nast, ESPN, The New York Times, Hearst, Time Inc., CNN and Bloomberg.”

Availability

News will launch as part of iOS 9, coming later this Fall. At launch, News will only be available to iOS 9 users in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

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