apple iphones

After the launch of Apple Music a couple of months ago, tech giant Apple will now venture into a News aggregator and publishing app when it releases iOS 9 at its 9 September event, reports Re/code. Apple has reportedly signed up brands like Vox which owns Re/code, Vanity Fair, Wired, GQ, Epicurious, Mashable, New York Times (which has also signed up on Facebook Instant Articles) Teen Vogue, Conde Nast Traveler, Washington Post and Reuters among 50 publishers to aggregate news.

Supported on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch
The News app will come pre-loaded onto every iPhone and iPad with iOS 9. It will also support the iPod Touch. The app, which will be placed on the home screen, will collect stories across genres from news sources based on topics that users choose and will combine text and digital interactivity. It will also have photo galleries, videos and animation, which, along with the rest of the content, be optimised for the iPhone and the iPad.

Personalisation based on reading; offline reading
Apple claims that the more a user reads, the more personalised the content on the app will become (based on reading habits), implying that will deploy machine learning to an extent (unclear whether there will be human curators). Users will also be able to save articles to read them offline.

iAd for publishers
The Apple News Format for publishers will allow publishers to create editorial layouts and custom typography, along with galleries, audio, video and interactive animation. Publishers will also be able to use iAd, through which the can earn 70% of the revenues when iAd sells ads for them; otherwise they will be able to earn 100% revenue. iAd will provide publishers with campaign management, targeting and reporting features.

*MediaNama’s take below. Publishers are also quivering at the fact that Apple will likely make it easier to install ad block software on the mobile Safari web browser, according to Re/code. A report from TechCrunch today states that the most popular and profitable iOS apps of all time are Facebook, Facebook Messenger, YouTube, Instagram, Skype, and WhatsApp in that order (that’s 4 Facebook apps in the top 6, by the way). 

Apple had reportedly released a beta version of the app a couple of months ago. Although there’s no dearth of news aggregator apps, Apple’s closest competitor in this space will be Flipboard, which claims to have 70 million monthly active users, other than of course, Google Play News Stand. Feedly, on the other hand, claimed to have 15 million users as of April 2014. However, Apple also had around 44.3 million Apple smartphone users in 2012 in the US alone, according to one Statista report.

iPhone sales up
Apple sold 47.53 million iPhones in the quarter ended July 2015, up 35% from 35.2 million iPhones in the same quarter last year. Overall, this segment reported revenues of $31.36 billion for the quarter, registering a 58.78% growth from $19.75 billion in the corresponding quarter last year. iPhone sales accounted for 63.22% of Apple’s total revenues, up from 56.3% in the previous quarter and 47% in the same quarter last year.

MediaNama’s take:
What was projected to be Apple users in the US in 2012, is less than the number of iPhones Apple sold last quarter. Despite the fact that there are indeed complaints against Apple Music, the number of iOS users will not decline with time. Sure, the added services might lose subscribers but no technology company will remain into standalone technology anymore today without trying to get into the services domain. And it probably might not be something where Apple stands to lose much revenue. This can also be looked at as a way of further consolidating the iOS ecosystem with most iOS users sticking to Apple’s provided services (at least initially) than external and third party apps providing the same services.

Also read:

Apple Music has 11M users; are they iOS only?

Facebook’s Instant Articles lets you load news from select publishers faster; what about others?

Image Credit: Flickr user Kārlis Dambrāns