Color me something of a current events news junkie. My iPhone has more than a dozen third party news apps from CNN to Fox, from NPR to AP, from USA Today to HuffPost to Politico. What news app do I use the most?
Apple News. Or, rather, Apple News+. I don’t know if Apple’s new news subscription service will help to save the news industry from itself, but it’s little to pay to get such a broad variety of news, information, and entertainment sources. News+ is just good enough to keep using.
I understand why Apple chose to stick news into the app’s name even if it is less about news than it is about magazines. More than 250 magazines are sourced in News+ and if that’s not enough to satisfy your curiosity about what is going on in the world, then a few dozen news apps won’t do the job, either.
News also has news sources, but most of those are leftovers from the News app, which remains highly customizable but without the crazy-assed publications on the far right and far left, or the alt right and alt left. I don’t want or need the crazies to take up precious time fighting for my attention.
It did not take long for Apple News– not Apple News+, the subscription– to take over top spot. It, too, is good enough to replace a dozen or more news, information, and entertainment websites. Why? Enough is enough. I cannot afford the time to browse all those apps, so having a single source to provide me with more than enough to satisfy my news junkie gene just seems pragmatic.
The iOS and macOS News app is free, as is the content. The difference is obvious. Each publication does not put all of its material into the News app, but there is enough to keep readers engaged, and with enough variety to satisfy most people, and perhaps help many of us avoid the wackos on the left and right of the spectrum of normalcy.
While Apple itself curates news, information, and entertainment content from specific sources (and they likely curate what Apple is allowed to publish) you remain in control of which publications you can Like and keep, vs. those who don’t need to suck up valuable time. I tried Google’s algorithmic approach to news and content creation and compared it to Apple News.
Apple won. Google lost.
Apple News+ carries that dynamic to another level, but the app’s name is just wrong. The plus is + which is magazines and that constitutes the most important value in the app and subscription.
So, why is News+ just good enough?
News+ is an obvious work in progress.
Some content sucks because PDFs that do not fit an iPhone’s smaller screen is just the wrong way to display content that begs to be read. Some content is dead dog tired looking and a pain to navigate, while other magazine content has been doctored appropriately to conform to Apple’s design aesthetic.
The overall usage sucks a bit less, but is painful because even the table of contents is lousy and rife with unpolished elegance that often defines how Apple works. The headlines just don’t tell enough information about what is inside. I hope that gets fixed before I get too tired of looking around for readable content.
Finally, the big pill to swallow is the disparate display differences. Some content contains animations, custom headers, captions for photos, pull quotes, and all the other design elements that make reading a pleasant experience. Some– far too many– do not, and remain relics while other publications are smart enough to compete for eyeballs.
For Apple News+ the magazine content rules over the news content. Regardless, Apple News is a good source for a variety of publications so you won’t need to bounce from app to app. Apple News+ ups that experience with many dozens of name brand magazines that cover the spectrum from news and analysis to information and entertainment.
Yeah, it’s just good enough to justify the $10 monthly subscription– as long as it continues to improve.