Here’s Why Apple News+ Doesn’t Work

Like many, I tried Apple News+ for one month, then cancelled, because I didn’t see the value in this service. $10 a month seems too much to me to have access to a number of publications that I read only occasionally at best; I simply don’t have the time to read all those magazines. Back when I subscribed to more print publications, I ended up with stacks of them that I tried to “get through” every couple of months.

But Apple keeps trying to interest me in Apple News+, and I don’t blame them. But I do blame them for what they present to tempt me. Case in point: the Apple News app showed me this section today:

Apple news minus

At the top of the section is an article about cameras, and this makes sense: I follow a couple of photography channels in the app. But below that, there are four other suggestions, none of which are “based on what I read.” I don’t watch birds, I don’t care much about houses and homes, I have no interest in advertising, and I don’t have diabetes. I don’t know why the algorithm is this broken, but it’s broken.

The Apple News app does show, in its various sections, articles that interest me, mainly because I follow certain publications (The Washington Post, The Guardian, etc.), or because I follow channels, like photography, business, politics, and others. Nevertheless, I regularly block channels that show up in the “for you” sections because they either don’t interest me, or are local channels for areas in other parts of the world.

Add to that the fact that, after scrolling a couple of screens, I see content more than a day old, meaning that there’s really not much to see.

Apple News is mediocre at best. And Apple News+ has a long way to go. I know some people who like Apple News+ because they had previously been using Texture, the magazine service that Apple bought and rolled into their Apple News app. But most people I know who have tried the service gave up for reasons similar to mine. Reports are that Apple News+ is not successful, and notably that publishers aren’t very happy with it. While it’s a good idea, it seems that Apple just doesn’t know how to get it right.

Meanwhile, Flipboard, which I’ve been using for nearly ten years, has offered a new scrolling design option, which can be an improvement on its traditional page flips to get to the next page. I find Flipboard to be an excellent tool, generally providing content I want to see. To be fair, I’ve been using it long enough that it knows what I read, so it’s easier for it to select articles to show me, but I don’t rate articles that I like or not; the only thing I have done is selected topics to follow, and blocked sources I don’t like.

3 thoughts on “Here’s Why Apple News+ Doesn’t Work

  1. Agree! 1,000%. I don’t pay for Apple news so I don’t know the answer to whether the paywall blocked articles in the free version of AN are unlocked or not.

  2. Apple News+ failed me in every key area when I trialled it in December.

    The Value
    Two issues here. The price – more than 25% more expensive than in the US, for almost 50% less publications. And an utterly feeble attempt at supplying decent localised content for the unjustifiable price — where is The Spectator? The New Statesman? The Economist? Any of our Hi-Fi audio magazines?

    The Content
    The flagship of Apple’s News+ UK was supposed to be The Times newspaper, at a monthly cost apparently way below the subscriber price for the newsprint edition. What appeared there was not even out of the starting blocks when it came to providing what makes a newspaper other than a repository of current stories derived from Reuters and Agence France Presse. No op-eds, obits, essays, Thunderer style editorial leaders or letters to the editor; and to complete that icing-less cake, no Times crossword. A skeleton with no flesh.

    The Presentation
    The Apple formatted periodicals are generally good, with a linked contents page and, generally, a screen-friendly page layout.This was not applied throughout though and — especially shamefully out of all publishers — the computer tech magazines appeared only as unindexed PDFs.

    Some of these issues may have been improved since then I hope, but I cancelled the trial a week before it was up.

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