Writing by Timothy Buck

Blox (iOS)

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Apple News: Reviewed

Apple News: Reviewed

Apple News is a brand new app for iOS users, and since it comes with iOS 9, it’s already installed on over 50% of iOS devices, according to Apple.

I shared my initial reaction to Apple News several weeks ago. In that post I wrote the following:

Overall the app works well. I can see the benefit, but to be honest, I don’t see myself using it.

One month later, I use Apple News nearly every day.

Purpose & Functionality

Apple News might be new, but it’s not an original idea. This is Apple's take on an old concept—the news aggregator. It provides the same basic functionality as Flipboard and Google News.

Apple News pulls together articles from around the web and organizes them by channel and topic. A channel is a publisher like the New York Times, Time Magazine or even blogs like mine. Topics range from extremely broad (technology, business, etc.) to somewhat specific (Elon Musk, Federal Reserve System, etc.).

After two weeks rarely using the app, I ran into a WSJ article on Twitter that was behind a paywall. A few minutes later, I opened the Apple News app, and the top post was that same WSJ article free to read. That’s when I realized there was some good content in Apple News.

I took the time to follow channels and topics that interest me and removed any channels that didn’t provide full articles. (Some content providers only send a portion of their articles to Apple News and require readers to open their website to read the whole thing.)

I don’t exclusively use Apple News, and I don’t actually do much reading in it. I save interesting articles from Apple News with Instapaper and read them there. Apple News has become my secondary source of news.

My News Sources

  1. Twitter
  2. Apple News
  3. The New Yorker (I have a paid subscription.)
  4. New York Times Now

Side Note: For those of you interested in publishing your own content in Apple News, here’s a handy guide from Apple.

Rating: simplicity, usefulness, beauty and necessity

  • Simplicity. (9/10) Apple News makes it easy to curate your feed so that you receive high-quality, interesting content.
  • Usefulness. (7/10) There are countless places to get news today, but as a free option, Apple News provides great utility.
  • Beauty. (8/10) The app looks good and works well. It does have ads throughout, but compared to the average web page it’s beautiful and clean.
  • Necessity. (7/10) Apple News is free and comes installed with iOS 9. I’d suggest spending a few minutes to follow channels and topics that interest you. You may not use it every day, but once you set it up, it’ll be ready when you want it.
  • Stickiness. (10/10) Apple News has incredible sticky factor because we can’t delete it from our phones. If you really don’t want it, it’ll probably be hidden in a junk folder, but it’ll still be there.

Alternatives

I put together a list of some of the top aggregators and RSS readers, but I'm sure I missed some. If you know of another good one, let me know, and I'll add it below with a shoutout to you for the help.

Aggregators

RSS Readers

How I Keep Track of My Life

How I Keep Track of My Life

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Is Ad Blocking Immoral?