Apple has officially announced that it is going to retire Newsstand—its existing news app—and replace it with a new one that will be a part of iOS 9 that is coming in fall 2015. This Apple news app will no longer rely on algorithmic methods to select the stories for customers to see. Instead, Apple is currently hiring editors who apparently will curate the news content manually. According to the Apple’s job listing, these people will also be in constant contact with news publishers to ensure that key stories are visible and surface quickly. Apple has also announced a list of news organizations it is going to collaborate with from the beginning. Apple notes that the news app will be available at launch in the US, UK, and Australia.
The Apple news app will look similar to Flipboard, but the key difference here is that there will be no user-curated content—Apple will conveniently do it for you. This, of course, begs the question of how likely are Apple employees to present an unbiased news coverage, especially when it comes to technology news. Apple and its competitors are always a major news topic, so there is little doubt that conflicts of interests will arise. Still, users will be able to add specific websites and blogs to their feed therefore retaining some control over news selection.
To avoid infringement of publishers’ rights, by default the application will only aggregate sample content—to access the full articles users will have to pay a subscription fee. Apple offers publishers to split this fee 30/70, and the publishers get 100% of advertisement revenue.
News organizations will be able to customize their articles for publication via the Apple news app to take the full advantage of the all the interactive features it provides. The New York Times, for example, is going to give away 30 free articles per month, all of them designed specifically for the new app. Other prominent news media are sure to follow suit.