Apple is working with publishers to add a new and fast-loading news app to iOS.
The app, called Apple News, will show up on iPhone and iPad home pages when iOS 9 arrives later this year.
Apple News pulls in news feeds from different publishers. It displays them in a magazine-style format like Flipboard. Readers will be able to filter their feeds so they can get the subjects they care about most.
The idea is that you’ll be able to quickly read the material you consider important from a variety of sources without jumping from one app or website to another.
In some respects it’ll replace RSS readers. They never recovered from the death of Google Reader.
Because it comes from Apple there’s an emphasis on how things look. Apple News is prettier than Google Reader replacements like Feedly. Although they set a low bar to beat.
The app will format material for iOS devices and will adjust for screen size. Most likely there will be something for Apple Watch owners too.
Apple has signed up publishers — including my technology news site. I’m curious to see how the model might work for publishers and writers.
We need fresh ideas. Few existing online publishing models work except for publishers with material worth putting behind a paywall.
Apple News will include advertising. At the same time the iOS 9 Safari browser will include optional ad blocking.
You could see this as Apple making life hard for publishers operating out the in the wild while offering something cosy inside the walled garden.
There’s another way of looking at this: Online advertising is a mess. Few publishers make more than a pittance from running banner ads, Google ads or indeed any kind of advertising. Ad sales stopped on this site because the revenue didn’t cover administering ad sales let alone other costs.
Things are extra hard for publishers when it comes to earning money from mobile readers. That’s where the audience is, but mobile ads earn a fraction of the money earned by PC browser ads. A small percentage of bugger all is not worth the effort.
It’s unlikely Apple News will do much for income, but it’s a publishing channel and business model worth exploring.
Can Apple will make it pay? That’s not a given. Remember the old iOS newsstand wasn’t a rip-roaring success. Remember how excited news publishers like Rupert Murdoch were about the iPad’s potential to save their broken business models?