At the World Wide Developer Conference last week, Apple introduced their all new RSS reader app called News. In all honesty, I see it as a good move on their part–it makes sense. By offering a free news aggregator that automatically is included in iOS 9, iPad owners are much less likely to go outside the Apple ecosystem in search of a an alternative. This move to provide a more comprehensive, all encompassing experience on iOS will be a good hook for new iPad and iPhone users. However, after talking with some current users, many of them were not as impressed.
Will the News app be a viable alternative to much more established and successful RSS readers like Feedly and Flipboard? Yes, and no. Traditional RSS reader advocates will likely stay with their current choices. However, new iPad users looking for a way to consume content more easily, and all in one place will likely find News to be the first and perhaps their last choice since it will be pre-installed on their device. Never underestimate the power of convenience.
Sites like Facebook and Twitter seem to be absent from the list of available feeds that can be included in the News app–which might be a little discouraging to some users. I for one, won’t miss them, as that is not the way I consume social media content. I’d rather just read those kinds of posts from within their respective apps; and I would bet that the majority of Facebook and Twitter users would feel the same way.
When launching the News app for the first time, the user will be presented with options based upon their interest in various popular categories. It is my understanding, though, that this is just an easy way to set-up your initial experience, and that you will be able to personalize your feed the way you see fit by adding specific website url’s. Apple is banking on their experience to present immersive and visually stunning versions of what is going on in the news to entice users into wanting to interact with the digital media.
What can Apple provide for Publishers?
Publishers will now have the tools to bring their beautiful editorial layouts and custom typography to both the iPad and iPhone since it will be optimized for the device you are using. Along side the new News app, Apple launched the beta version of News Publisher. With News Publisher content creators will have an easy way to distribute their content to any device running iOS 9. That’s a _big_ deal if you think about it. Publishers will have instant access to an audience where every user already has access to the app at no cost right from their device. Publishers will also have access to a revenue stream via iAd. Any monetization made through iAds will bring publishers 70% of revenue collected.
With over one million published topics to choose from you should have no trouble finding something that interests you. Apple uses your choices to help refine your experience even further. So, in all reality, the more you interact with the app, the more it conforms to your personal preferences. All this content can also be easily shared and saved for offline reading enjoyment.