My Initial Reaction to the Apple News App

Apple News is a new, built-in app coming with iOS 9. It provides good content in an easy-to-read format. Apple News is very similar to other news aggregators like Google News and Flipboard. Apple announced Apple News at its WWDC Conference in June, and I’ve been using the beta every day for about a week. I’m able to test Apple News because I have installed the iOS 9 public beta. I’ve gathered a list of some initial thoughts about the app below. 

  • Despite being in beta, there is already quite a bit of content flowing into the app from major and minor publishers. 
  • You can easily follow channels such as the New York Times, ESPN or my site (just search Timothy Buck). You can also following topics like sports, China or Elon Musk. Topics will pull their content from multiple channels.
  • Some channels (not most based on my experience) send partial content to Apple News. After you read the portion provided, you have to swipe up and wait for the publisher’s webpage to load. This is slow because of the proliferation of ads. I understand the need for ads, but I would rather see tasteful ads in the Apple News app. Having to load a new page halfway through reading is annoying.
  • As of today, the vast majority of channels are sending their content over RSS, but at some point Apple News Format will be released to publishers. This will allow more custom formatting. Big-name publishers, like the New York Times, have received early access to Apple News Format, and their content looks great.
  • The app includes many of the basic options you’d expect: save for later, liking and sharing with the iOS Share Sheet. 
  • The New York Times seems to be sending the same content to Apple News as it does to its free NYT Now app, including the morning and evening briefings.

Overall the app works well. I can see the benefit, but to be honest, I don’t see myself using it. I really like using Reeder, and unless Apple News can provide some unique value, I’ll be sticking with Reeder.

Once iOS 9 is officially released, I’ll publish a full review. 

Do you think you’ll use Apple News? Is it something you’re interested in having on your phone? I’d love to hear you thoughts in the comments below.