Apple wants to guide news consumption

Apple wants to become more central to the way people consume news.


The iPhone maker has forged partnerships with CNN, National Geographic and others – more than 50 companies so far, representing hundreds of outlets.

And the tech giant will launch a News service on iPhones and iPads as part of a free software update this month.

That means millions of devices will get the app on the home screen, with no separate download required.

Here’s what’s known so far:


You begin by choosing at least three news topics or outlets of interest. Topics include “cooking,” “science” and “dogs,” while outlets include Hearst and BuzzFeed.

You get a customised feed of news. Just tap on any item to get the story in a layout that resembles a print publication – without a lot of clutter found on many websites.

The app offers uniform navigation, but publishers can customise the presentation to reflect their brands, says Troy Young, president of Hearst Magazines Digital Media.

You can search for stories or browse by topic or outlet. You can like or share stories, or save them to read offline. Your interactions will influence future recommendations.

Although Apple has partnerships with just a few dozen outlets, thousands more are available through feed technology RSS.

These are typically top headlines chosen by the outlet and presented in a standard format that various apps, such as News, can understand.

News outlets choose which stories go into the service, and Apple plans to leave it to its software to organise them.


The service is free, and outlets such as The New York Times that usually charge for online access are offering a selection of their stories for free.

There will be ads. That’s notable as Apple is permitting ad-blocking technology in its Safari web browser, but not in apps.

The outlets keep all revenue from any ads they sell. For ads Apple sells, the outlets get 70 per cent.


Ken Doctor, a media analyst for Newsonomics, says many people now get news directly from an outlet’s app.

Otherwise, they get it from social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook, for instance, has an initiative called Instant Articles, which promises faster loading of news content on Facebook. SnapChat started a news section called Discover.

Doctor says news aggregators such as Apple’s News represent another way of getting news, but they will have to prove compelling enough for readers to spend time there instead.

Apple believes it can help you read what you want to read, without having to do a lot of work finding it.

Publishers see the News app as a way to reach new audiences.


Apple keeps track of what you read to make recommendations and tailor advertising.

The company promises not to link your reading habits with other services.

So ad targeting based on news stories read will appear only in the News app – not while using other Apple services, such as Music.

You can turn off ad targeting and clear your reading history.