Apple has launched a news and magazine subscription service called Apple News+. Available on iOS and macOS, this service gives unlimited access to news, digital publishers and 300 popular magazines. The publications include the likes of Popular Science, National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal and more. News+ is available after the new iOS 12.2 and macOS 10.4.4 updates for users in US and Canada.
Although Apple had experimented before in creating a news service via Newsstand in iOS 5, it did not succeed in gathering a following. The iPad was considered to be a device which would replace physical magazines with digital ones. A magazine called The Daily was also launched in 2011, only for the iPad. However, it was shutdown later in 2012, while other publishers also stopped supporting Newsstand.
Apple launched the new News app with iOS 9 and slowly kept working at it with subsequent iOS releases. The current iteration of the News app came into shape with iOS 10, and Apple has since expanded its availability to more regions.
Last year, Apple acquired Texture, a magazine subscription service, which signaled Apple’s intentions of creating their own magazine subscription service.
What is Apple News+?
Apple News+ is a big deal. It cements Apple’s goal of supporting publishers and journalism by creating a platform that values beautiful design, simplicity, ease of use and privacy. The app allows users to pay a monthly fee of $9.99 and gain unlimited access to 300 popular magazines, digital publishers and major newspapers. The content is automatically downloaded for offline reading and users are recommended content based on their reading activity on device.
The magazines are adapted to News+ and have animated covers. The magazines feature beautiful fonts and photos that take full advantage of high resolution displays on iOS devices and Macs. Apple has also made it easy to discover new content and recommendations. These personal recommendations are made using on-device activity through machine learning. Neither Apple, nor the publisher would know what you read.
Apple has also focused strongly on having human editors to provide editorial curation and recommending the best quality content possible to users. This follows their preference of having human editors for App Store.
To get access to Apple News+, upgrade your iOS device to iOS 12.2 and Mac to macOS 10.14.4. The new app will show an updated Today tab, a News+ tab and a following tab. Apple is offering a free 1-month trial to all users. After the trial ends, users will have to pay $9.99/month for unlimited access. For $9.99, users can also enable family sharing so that up to 6 users can get access to News+, with their own reading lists and downloads. Note that News+ is only available to users in US and Canada for now, while other locations will be added later this year.
P.S. Texture, the app that Apple acquired, is still available for iOS and Android. The app costs $9.99/month for unlimited access to 200+ magazines.