I read a ton of news. Technology. Politics. Entertainment. Culture. Science. You name it, I’ve read it on my iPhone or iPad. It’s gotten better since Apple introduced News.app. It’s gotten much better since Apple integrated News.app with the news widget on the Today View.
But it’s still not integrated with Safari Reader or Shared Links, it’s still not available on Mac or Apple TV, and — stupefyingly — over two years later, it’s still not available outside the U.S., U.K., and Australia.
Here’s what I’d love to see Apple do with news in iOS 12
The new News
Apple’s new News app debuted in iOS 9. It was an attempt to solve a really hard problem—bringing magazines, newspapers, and independent publications fully into the digital age in a way that’s accessible and sustainable. The sustainable part is still a huge question mark for everyone, but the accessible part feels really close. It feels like something Apple could iterate on and make simple and system-wide.
Because of secrecy silos within the company, when News first launched it wasn’t integrated with the then also-new News widget on the Today View. They were completely separate and, unlike the News app, there wasn’t any way to control what populated the News widget.
iOS 10 solved that part. Since then, the News widget has drawn its headlines from the News app, creating a far more integrated, consistent, and useful experience. But only in those two places.
Beyond the app and the widget, what I want to read is still fragmented.
What I’ve wanted for the last few years is a system-level service that provides a unified stream of news, informed by the initial setup of the News app, improved by what you tap on and like, enhanced by Apple’s algorithms and editors, and augmented by what you’ve saved to read later and by what your friends have shared on your social networks.
News.app and Today View on iOS have already taken a first step in that direction, but there are plenty more left to take.
For example, both Safari and News.app let you bookmark articles to read later. Safari has Reading List and news has the Saved tab. They serve similar purposes but are currently silos, lacking any form of integration.
It would be great if anything bookmarked to Safari’s Reading List also appeared in the Saved tab in News — and vice versa.
That way, no matter which app you’re in, you have a single, unified view of everything you’ve bookmarked.
(If Shared Links, killed in iOS 11, were also brought back, it would make a great starting point for social integration — bookmarked-by-you could sit side-by-side (or tab-by-tab) with shared by friends.)
This feature request has been filed with Apple as rdar://35827882.
Where is News.app for Mac?
Photos.app is a great example of Apple turning a loose collection of apps into a cross-device, system-level feature. Since the launch of Photos.app, any image or video I take on my iPhone or load onto my Mac is available and always updated on all of my devices.
News.app, two years post-launch, is still locked on my iPhone and iPad. Despite all the setup you’ve done, selections you’ve made, recommendations and curations the system has provided, if you’re sitting at my Mac, you have zero access to it. (Aside from reaching over and picking up an iOS device.)
It would be great if News.app worked more like Photos.app and had had a macOS incarnation that would stay in lockstep with iOS so it was only ever a Dock or Continuity-click away.
That way Apple would be providing a single, consistent News experience to all customers, regardless of the device they happened to be in front of at the time.
This feature request has been filed with Apple as rdar://35827959.
Where’s the video version of News.app for Apple TV?
News.app lets you read selected, recommended, and curated news on iPhone and iPad. But, if you’re sitting in front of your Apple TV and you want to get up-to-date or catch up on something you saved, currently your only choice is the same as it is on Mac — to do it on an iOS second screen.
It would be great if, instead, there was a News.app for tvOS that was optimized for the 10-foot experience. For example, if Apple TV was hooked into News.app, extracted any and all video content found in the articles, and made it available using the familiar For You, Spotlight, Following, and Saved.
That way, you could sit back, grab the Siri remote, and either browse, pick, and play, or simply ask Siri to show you all news or just news of a specific type.
Like News for Mac, News for Apple TV t would go a long way towards rounding out the experience across devices.
This feature request has been filed with Apple as rdar://35828049.
Where is Apple News in the rest of the world?
It hasn’t simply been over two years since Apple introduced the new News app in the U.S. with iOS 9, or since it added the U.K. and Australia in iOS 9.1. It’s been over two years since we’ve seen any expansion of News to any other country. And that’s beyond frustrating.
Amazon has now managed to ship Echo is Canada before Apple could ship News. Which, given Apple Music launched in 100 countries at once is a huge disappointment.
There are typically all sorts of local laws, partnerships, and other concerns when dealing with content internationally. But that’s not the customer’s problem. That’s Apple’s problem.
I think most of us outside the U.S., U.K., and Canada would settle for a pared down News experience over none at all. If governments want to make sure local content is represented and local content wants to make sure they have advertising revenue lined up, and that’s taking time — fine. Give us News as a glorified feed-reader for now, let us manually add what we want, and then bring the other features online when and as possible.
Or, you know, build up a team with the sole purpose of making News international, just like Music, just like App Store, and let them loose. Just please don’t let them take another two years to get it done.
More like iOS 12, if not sooner.