Beyond alternate aggregators such as News Republic, News360 and stalwart Digg, you can instead take news curation into your own hands. The aforementioned systems and services including Apple's are essentially fancy RSS readers, and there are some great RSS readers for your iOS device, such as Reeder and Unread. These lack the fancy animation and gimmicks of News and Flipboard, but tend to feel more efficient as a result. Articles are stripped back to plain text and images (but usually with readable global typography that can be tweaked). However, these apps don't 'learn' what you like on subscribing to feeds, you must scroll through all the articles being churned out, in order to find something to read. (On the flip side, you won't miss something because your app didn't think you wanted to read it.)
How publishers can get their content on to Apple News
Regardless of the quality of other news apps, Apple News has a big advantage over its rivals, in that it'll one day instantly appear on many millions of devices when they're upgraded to iOS 9. Therefore, if you're a publisher, it's a smart move to ensure your content can be found on Apple News.
You can start the process by visiting icloud.com/newspublisher and signing up with an Apple ID. You then enter your information (name, address, and so on) and details about your channel the home for your content.
At present, Apple News requires you to submit one or more RSS feeds and a logo in transparent PNG format, 256 px high and up to 2048 px wide. Apple recommends images within articles be high-resolution JPEGs, PNGs or GIFs, and all text-based content have functional links and assets. Sponsored articles must be flagged as such, and all content must be in the same language.
Content can be monetised via iAd, with publishers retaining 100 percent of revenue from ads they sell, or 70 percent when Apple sells on their behalf. In the near future, Apple will provide details of Apple News Format, which outputs content optimised for iOS devices that renders quickly, boasts the "beautifully crafted layouts" mentioned earlier, and includes tools for measuring user engagement.
Apple adds that readers can "report concerns about articles they find offensive or problematic" and too many complaints of this sort may lead to Apple having to "suspend or disable your channel." This should set some alarm bells ringing, given Apple's tendency to be censor-happy at times. Journalists have also raised concerns about a company like Apple potentially having so much control over news. Will big companies push out independents and effectively own the system? What happens if a publication is heavily critical of Apple or goes against the company's philosophies? And will News erode the very idea of news and magazine brands, their articles becoming meat for the grinder?
Time will tell, and we'll find out for sure this autumn, when Apple News makes its debut with iOS 9, initially starting out in the USA, UK and Australia.
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