Apple News has concerns, however it’s a lot for casual readers

I had actually liked iOS’s Newsstand prior to that went away, so I was interested to see if Apple News would provide a much better experience. Importantly, I questioned if registering for News would lead me to cancelling my existing magazine subscriptions. After trying it out for a couple of hours, my response is … not actually. Yet, I’ll likely sign up for News all the same.

As pointed out in Apple’s presentation, News is (unsurprisingly) an extension of the existing News app, and not an app of its own. It also needs iOS 12.2, so make certain to upgrade if you wish to try it out. News is readily available on the MacOS News app also, as long as you upgrade to 10.144.

When you release the News app on iOS, you’ll see the complimentary news part in the main “Today” home screen, in addition to a brand-new “News ” option in the bottom row. On the MacOS app, the “News ” option sits beneath the “Today” on the left sidebar. Select that, and you’ll see some details about what News offers. You can then register for the service right on the spot. The very first month is totally free, however Apple will start charging you $9.99 a month when the complimentary trial is over.

Apple News+

When you have that rectified, you’ll see the News homescreen, which is made up of a selection of your favorite publications at the top (this section will be empty if you are brand-new to News ), followed by several sections– Very first Look and featured stories are human-curated, while stories from classifications like “Health” and “Travel” are based more on your individual choice (it defaults to a curated list on your very first time, but you can personalize it by “following” various topics in the app). Along the top are navigation buttons for browsing the publication catalog, either in its whole or by means of particular genres like Service & Finance or Home entertainment.

I have to admit, I was impressed with this semi-curated experience. What actually sells it for me is that I had instantaneous access to all of the magazine articles on the home screen with simply a tap. I might immediately pick and check out complete stories from sources as differed as Wanderer, National Geographic, Vanity Fair and the Wall Street Journal without having to endure long loading times, which is often the case with magazine-specific apps. In a way, by gathering all of these stories on the News homepage, Apple had actually developed a Franken-zine of sorts of all my different interests. I can see how this might be appealing for casual publication readers who choose a buffet-style technique to media intake.

If you do desire complete access to certain publications, News offers that too. Tap a particular publication title, for instance, and you’ll see the most recent cover in addition to a tabulation. If you tap the magazine title again at the top, you’ll be given a general introduction page where you can access an entire year’s worth of back issues also (Which is good if you occur to miss out on a particular problem). Also on this page are the publication’s most current headlines, that includes stories that are online-only and not readily available in the print variation (a minimum of, not yet). Some publications likewise offer links to online video, which, again, is undoubtedly not offered in print.

Apple News+

This is all well and good, but what is the experience of really checking out these magazine stories, particularly on my tiny little iPhone? I’ll have to admit this is where I was the most hesitant. In Newsstand, for example, it typically felt as if some publications were simply PDF scans of the print variation, which is just hell to check out on a little gadget.

I was happily surprised, nevertheless, to discover that this was not always the case with News . Though Wired, Vanity Fair and the New Yorker had their own unique fonts and designs, each story was provided the full-screen treatment, and looked like they were designed to fit on the iPhone’s display screen. News also lets you increase the typeface size, simply in case the text is too little for you. The same look rollovers to the MacOS side too.

There are a few cautions though. For something, you’ll still get advertisements. Yes, Apple made a huge offer that there’s no ad tracking in News , but that does not mean the magazines will not have advertisements. Obviously, you can quickly bypass them by going straight to a story from the tabulation, but not a lot if you were to scan a publication’s pages ( Dwell, for example, had me scan 10 pages of advertisements prior to I got to the editor’s letter).

Plus, there are particular publication designs that simply aren’t suited to the single-story treatment. Domino, for instance, has catalog-style pages with various furnishings and accessory suggestions that is heavy on images. On the iPhone, they look very much like PDF scans that I need to focus and out of to read properly. This is more the obligation of the publication and not the News app, however it does deter the experience. Even on the MacOS app, I found the experience to be quite clunky and less than acceptable. Possibly there are simply some magazine formats that work better in print than in digital.

Apple News+

There likewise seems some confusion over whether a News membership uses you full access to specific publications. Obviously the Wall Street Journal sent a memo mentioning the News app would just contain a curated collection of its stories. It ends up, nevertheless, that this is incorrect: a News membership does supply complete access to the Wall Street Journal, however basic news interest stories are drifted to the top more than others. If you want stories on other subjects, you’ll need to look for them (you can discover this function in the Following tab of the app), which might be a pain for some. The membership also just allows for three days worth of archives.

What’s more, it seems that an Apple News subscription stands on its own. Even if you can check out the New Yorker on Apple News , for example, doesn’t indicate you now have limitless access to New Yorker articles online. It appears that, at least in the meantime, if you desire full digital access to a specific publication, you’ll still need to sign up for it separately.

Not to mention, a lot of periodicals actually use a combined print and digital rate for the very same rate. Wired for instance is $5 a year for both the print and digital plans (that works out to just under $0.42 a month). If you still want the choice for print magazines, this is definitely a more attractive offer.

Plus, magazine costs vary hugely, and what’s an excellent offer for a single person, might not be for another. If the only magazine you appreciate is Wired, for instance, then an Apple News membership will not make much sense. On the other hand, if you do not wish to invest the $40 a month for a WSJ subscription, then the $10 a month for News is a huge saving.

Apple News+

It’s likewise worth mentioning Kindle Unlimited, which lots of have presumed may show to be a possible competitor to News . For $10 a month, Kindle Unlimited customers get access to a turning selection of over a million books and audiobooks, as well as “top magazine problems.” The problem with Kindle Unlimited, nevertheless, is that it’s not a real magazine subscription, given that the magazine selection modifications every month. The issues also take a long time to download, and the design appears to primarily be PDF scans, which isn’t ideal. Readly, another $10 a month magazine membership app, has a similar issue with PDF scan designs that are hard to continue reading a small screen.

In the end, I was pleasantly amazed by how much I liked the News app experience. I liked that most of the stories I check out seem tailor-made for the smaller iPhone screen, which the News app provided me access to online-only stories and formats. What I especially liked was the curated house screen that offers access to an entire array of various magazine stories in one fell swoop. Plus, it offers some of my favorite periodicals in their complete kind, while letting me sample from others without extra cost. All of that is factor enough for me to keep my $10 a month News membership going.

Yet, it’s still not rather enough for me to quit my existing subscriptions. For one thing, I have a membership to the New York City Times, which isn’t available on News at all. I also desire to be able to read Wired and New Yorker stories on the web, so I can access them no matter what computer system I’m utilizing. In addition, I value that these two magazines offer a companion print subscription for the exact same price. I like the alternative of sitting back and casually scanning them on the weekends, when I want a break from the constant barrage of innovation. There’s simply something about scanning a big, glossy publication that can’t quite be duplicated on a backlit screen.

Still, I’m not entirely tied to physical media, and am ready to offer it up for the ideal price and service. News might very well enable for web gain access to in the future, and possibly it’ll include the New York City Times or the Washington Post too. If so, that might be enough to convince me to cancel my other memberships. Up until then, nevertheless, I guess I’ll cough up for yet another Apple service.

Learn More