Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Apple News

Josh Centers:

Instead of being salvation for publishers, Newsstand quickly became a prison. Publishers had to become (or hire) developers in order to participate in Newsstand — an expensive proposition, and not something most publishers are good at.


Apple hasn’t given up on periodicals, though, and is taking a different approach in iOS 9 with News, which acts more like a traditional RSS reader, pulling articles directly from publisher feeds (which are far easier to maintain than entire apps) and displaying them in a consistent format (while still allowing some large publishers to tweak the look slightly). With potentially hundreds of millions of users, News could have a significant impact on the world of online journalism. To start, Apple is testing a proprietary Apple News Format with select publishers, and Wired is experimenting with publishing articles to Apple News first. Apple is also hiring journalists to edit Apple News, pointing at bigger things ahead.

John Gordon notes that when you share a link, it gets redirected through, Apple’s version of Twitter’s

So, despite my dire expectations, Apple, for now, is providing redirects to the web source. This doesn’t mean Apple will never interfere with the distribution of information that would hurt Apple’s business or offend its executives, and my confusion between NYT and Apple content is a bit weird (user error?), but for now isn’t necessarily evil.

Tom Harrington:

Apple News consistently lags Flipboard for updating sources, sometimes by days. Doesn’t reload the sites on demand either…

As I write this, Apple News is not showing my blog post from two hours ago. Indeed, for weeks it didn’t show my C-Command Blog at all, even though Apple had e-mailed to say that it was in Apple News. And it’s slow in another way: the app itself is not as responsive as browsing the same site in Safari.

The other thing that bothers me is the machine-generated tags. For my EagleFiler 1.6.6 post, which is mainly about updates for El Capitan, it shows “Mac OS X Snow Leopard.” For my SpamSieve 2.9.21 post, it shows “Operating Systems.” For my in-progress hiking blog, it tags a hike in Lebanon, New Hampshire as “Meriden, Connecticut.”

Update (2015-10-09): Nick Heer:

Fortunately, if a website has an RSS feed, there’s another way to add it to News. In Safari, just tap the Share icon and scroll across the bottom row of actions until you find Add To News. Tap this icon and the sharing sheet will disappear. There will be no visual confirmation of any kind, but the site will be added to News.

I tried that with two sites, and an hour later both are still just showing the spinning progress indicator in the News app.

Update (2015-10-22): Samantha Bielefeld:

A site like Daring Fireball, which is almost exclusively text-only by design, has a News channel littered with images that are present on the source website being linked to.


My own channel hasn’t updated with my most recent content since I published ‘Universal Deep Linking in iOS 9’ all the way back on September 23rd.

Update (2015-10-29): Ben Brooks is having problems with Apple News missing posts, as am I.

Lee Bennett:

Related to Apple News woes, I submitted a site ages ago, denied coz title too simple. Resubmitted. Been >1 month with no progress.

Update (2019-05-16): Nick Heer:

I now know how app developers feel. It took them nearly three years to indicate that some bullets on some posts I made a long time ago might not be perfectly formatted.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

Meanwhile, I've been sensing a similar grief that I perceived from app developers. Submitted the feed for news from my office, waited forever, only to be told the channel name was too short/generic. (Florida Focus has been the title of our publication for 31 years.) Resubmitted with more descriptive name, and still waiting, about two weeks now.

"For my in-progress hiking blog, it tags a hike in Lebanon, New Hampshire as “Meriden, Connecticut."

They've got a handy Amtrak station in Meriden. Used it many times. Lots of good pizza pie in the vicinity.

In short, Apple News is trying to help you, Michael. Why all the ingratitude?

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