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All Hail Apple News Plus: Apple’s Magazines Subscription Service

Apple News+

Apple has introduced yet another feature that Apple fanboys can pay for. Yesterday, at the ‘Show Time’ event, Apple debuted the news subscription app called ‘Apple News+’. For now, the service has been launched only in the US and Canada, with other countries to follow.

The service that was earlier rumoured to be named “Apple News Magazine”, Apple News+ costs $9.99 per month in the US and $12.99 in Canada. At the event, Mr. Cook boasted that currently, over 5 billion stories have been read on Apple News, making it the number one news app ever created. Apple’s Vice President of Applications, Roger Rosner added that with Apple News+ they aim to create the best reading experience on a mobile device for its users. And they plan to bring in more than 300 titles – a mixture of magazines and newspapers – to this service. Apple News+ includes leading titles like the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, and more. Also, French being the second most spoken language in Canada, the app contains 30 French titles.

Explaining the wonders of Apple News+, Rosner pointed out that if you were to subscribe to all of these magazines individually, it would cost you $8,000. However, the new Apple News+ subscription will be available for only $9.99 per month, and it’s the same cost for both individuals and family sharing. Rosner also assured that Apple News+ would not allow advertisers to track your reading choices. That’s definitely a relief!

A Range of Titles at Your Fingertips

Other magazines available at the launch that got us excited are The Atlantic, Better Homes & Gardens, Conde Nast Traveller, Esquire, National Geographic, and Vanity Fair. Along with print magazines and newspapers, Apple News+ will also have online-only titles like the Skimm, New York Magazine’s Vulture, and The Highlight by Vox. Readers will be able to enjoy the current issue, when available, and will also have acess to back-dated issues for any of the titles.

Not the first Apple News Rodeo

The newly available Apple News+ subscription is Apple’s most recent attempt to make News a profitable part of its venture.

Back in 2011, Apple introduced a similar paid service with then-new iOS 5 called Newsstand. It was a virtual shelf with the latest issues of the magazines you had bought. Initially, Newsstand seemed to be a success when some publishers like Conde Nast reported that it had radically increased its sales of digital issues.Eventually, it failed to take off and was mostly ignored both by Apple users and publishers. And ultimately even Apple dropped it with iOS 10 update, in 2015.

At that point, Apple introduced another news app called Apple News. And while announcing Apple news in 2015, Craig Federighi completely omitted to mention Newsstand. After rolling out only to a few countries, even Apple News was not able to sustain itself for more than three years.

The Second Attempt

In the first quarter of 2018, Apple took another step in the same direction and went ahead and bought Texture. Texture was a company, app, and service, that allowed its readers to subscribe to magazines. It was then referred to as the Netflix model. For $9.99 per month, you had access to all of the magazines on the app. It was available on Mac, iOS, and Windows. Unfortunately, Apple shut down the Windows part of the service by mid of the year.

Soon after the shutdown, Apple made the first significant update to the app since its launch. The update included the iOS version of Apple News to the Mac. It was the around the same time last year when Apple updated some other popular apps like Home and Stock. This step marked the beginning of what Apple called a multi-year plan. The initiative was to enable other developers to adapt their iOS apps for Macs.

And now almost a decade later, we have the latest version of Apple’s efforts. What does the fate hold for this + version of the News app? Well, we have to wait and watch. But from the looks of it, this service certainly has a lot of potential. The reader within me is already excited and would love to get her hands on some of those gorgeous magazines they showcased yesterday. I can already imagine the hours I can happily while away pouring over the pages of National Geographic and Conde Nast on my iPad. Bliss!

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