Anyone in the UK who has downloaded the new iOS 9.1 update to their iPhone or iPad may have noticed one new feature – and no it’s not the middle finger emoji that everyone’s talking about!
Instead it’s a red coloured icon on the home page we’ve been talking about for some time called simply enough News. It’s Apple’s latest news aggregation tool and went live in the UK and Australia yesterday.
‘Apple News collects all the stories you want to read, from top news sources, based on topics you’re most interested in, so you no longer need to move from app to app to stay informed,’ an Apple spokesperson said.
As a result of the move, Apple has quietly scrapped its Newsstand service which previously distributed newspaper and magazine content via an app. In the UK, Apple News has launched with 14 newspaper and magazine publishers. These include The Guardian, The Times, Financial Times, The Economist and Daily Mirror publisher, Trinity Mirror. Trinity Mirror has also said that it is putting 27 of its regional titles on the service, including Daily Record, Manchester Evening News and Liverpool Echo.
UK magazine companies on board at launch include Vanity Fair owner Condé Nast, Top Gear and Radio Times publisher Immediate Media, Cosmopolitan and Esquire parent Hearst and Marie Claire publisher Time Inc.
Anyone who has ever used Flipboard may find something quite familiar about Apple News. Like that app, it allows customers to create their own customised news feeds in a graphics-rich stream. Large icons are provided for each of the publications and you can choose favourites, search for particular keywords or choose suggestions. The ‘For You’ icon pulls together news stories from your favourite publications while Explore brings up the various categories (News, Business, Politics, Travel etc.) as well as suggested channels (publications) and topics (everything from UK politics to business and iOS9).
Whether News will prove more of a success than Newsstand remains to be seen. However, importantly Apple has said the arrangement with News will allow publishers to keep 100 per cent of the revenue from the ads they sell themselves and 70 per cent of ad revenue generated by Apple’s iAd platform (broadly similar to the terms Facebook is offering for its Instant Articles).
Meanwhile last month Samsung announced its own curated news service in partnership with European publisher Axel Springer. Called UPDAY the service is currently in a beta test and restricted to Galaxy devices in Germany and Poland. However, it’s expected to arrive in other European markets next year. Should be interesting.
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