October 15, 2015 Last Updated 11:53 am

Apple News Format, engine that was supposed to drive the Apple News app, remains closeted away

Almost four months after accepting media applications to become an Apple News partner, Apple’s new customization tool is still only available to a select few media outlets

This summer’s Worldwide Developers Conference introduced Apple’s latest foray into the world of media: the Apple News app. Though Apple did not say at the time that the Newsstand was dead, anyone playing around with the beta of iOS 9 knew that the Newsstand would be converted into a standard folder. It took Apple several months to get around to telling all developers of the details.

Meanwhile, Apple began a bit of bait and switch, telling media companies that they could apply to become an Apple News partner and that they could use the new Apple News Format to customize their content in the app. Apple showed off the new platform at WWDC and said it already have media partners lined up.


Did Apple grant these early media partners exclusivity to the ability to customize their content, with the guarantee that they would have an exclusive for a set period of time? Maybe, but the result is that enthusiasm for the Apple News app among media companies has vanished faster than the time it took to roll out iOS 9 after WWDC.

icloud_newsPublisher_app_iconOne review of the Apple News app sums it up nicely:

“Apple’s partnered with a number of big-name publications to optimize their content for the News app, and those feeds look stunning. Other feeds from publications who haven’t worked with Apple look more generic, but they all match the Apple News look, which makes for a more cohesive and attractive news reading experience.’ (My emphasis.)

Later the reviewer reinforces the difference between those early partners and everyone else:

“Other news outlets don’t look as polished, but in time, every single publication could look as attractive on Apple News as the New York Times.”

Well, maybe. But that review is already a month old, and the question remains just how much time will have to pass before the Apple News Format changes from a beta to a live feature.

Maybe Apple will open up its Apple News Format in the new year, but it may be too late. The Apple News appears destined to become just another app, like Stocks, one that will find itself in a folder somewhere on the iOS device.

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