Apple News, launched last Wednesday with the release of Apple’s iOS 9 mobile operating system, is the latest news aggregation app looking to improve the way we read news on mobile devices. It joins the likes of NYT Now, Wildcard, Timeline, BriefMe and Flipboard. At first glance it doesn’t seem much different than the others, but the app's recommendations feature and user privacy set it apart. In the official announcement, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue said, “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.”
Apple News integrates a variety of sources into a single feed presenting continuously updated news from publications, including CNN, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, ESPN, Bloomberg and others. When you first set up the app it asks you to select some of the publications and topics you like to read about. This allows readers to follow the news sources and stay up to date on the subjects that matter to them. Based on what you read, the app then refines relevant suggestions and builds personalized recommendations.
The app is broken up into multiple tabs, including: ‘For you’ which takes note of your preferences and provides a customized selection of stories from the publications you subscribe to, ‘Favorites’ which shows the channels and topics you’re subscribed to, ‘Explore’ which offers suggestions on what to follow based on what you’ve already read, ‘Search’ which allows you to search for news on specific events or topics, and ‘Saved’ which allows you to bookmark and save stories you want to read later.
Designed for ease of reading, the app is not only aesthetically appealing, but thanks to Apple’s content delivery network, the articles load incredibly fast providing a better alternative to slow loading news sites for your phone. The app also cuts out the ad trackers and other elements found on many news sites that can contribute to slow loading times.
But what does this mean for publishers? As mentioned in a recent InkHouse blog post on the “instant articles” shift, this is not the be all and end all of news publishing. In fact, this is a huge opportunity for publishers to get their content in front of hundreds of millions of new readers without having to spend money or build their own native apps. Despite only being a few days old, Apple’s introduction of News has the opportunity to open up a whole new world for publishers and even content marketers, and become a new go to news source for users.