- On Monday, Apple announced Apple News Plus, a subscription service that offers users access through its news app to leading newspapers, digital publications, and more than 300 magazine titles.
- We signed up for a free trial of Apple News Plus to see how it worked and what it included.
- Below is a look inside the new Apple News Plus.
What can you expect from Apple News Plus, the new subscription news service from the maker of the iPhone?
We signed up for a free trial to find out. We found an attractive, easy-to-use service with access to a great selection of magazines.
Apple announced the new service, which costs $US9.99 a month, at its press event Monday. Apple News Plus does not include access to stories from The New York Times or The Washington Post. But it does offer a lot of other things, including stories from The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic Magazine, and People Magazine, among other publications.
Here’s how to use and what to expect from Apple News Plus:
Before trying out Apple News Plus, you’ll need to update your iPhone to iOS 12.2.
Apple released the update to the operating system on Monday.
After opening the News app, tap on the new “News+” icon at the bottom and then on “Try It Free” to get started.
Apple is offering a free month of News Plus. After that, the service costs $US9.99 for access for up to six family members.
Magazines get top billing in Apple News Plus.
You can browse the app’s catalogue of more than 300 magazines alphabetically.
Alternatively, you can browse magazines in particular categories, including “business and finance” and “featured.”
Apple News Plus keeps tabs on magazines you’ve read or like, keeping them in a section called “My Magazines.”
I had been “following” ESPN on my Apple News app, so the News Plus service automatically highlighted “ESPN The Magazine” for me.
If you scroll down the app’s home screen, you’ll find articles from magazines it knows you follow.
When you tap on a headline or photo promoting an article, you’ll instantly be able to read it within the Apple News app.
You can access the full issue of the magazine in which an article was published by tapping on a thumbnail image of it in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.
The full-magazine view lists the articles found inside; you can read them by simply tapping the headlines.
You can’t scroll through the entire magazine via Apple News. But that was a relief; accessing articles a la carte felt much more manageable.
On the News Plus home screen, Apple also touts its major news partners, including The Wall Street Journal.
News Plus subscribers won’t necessarily be able to access a complete collection of articles from such publishers, however. The Journal, for example, is offering some of its “key business stories,” but not all of its coverage.
(BI Prime stories are also available in Apple News+.)
Within the Apple News app, though, it’s not easy to tell which articles the Journal or other providers are leaving off the service.
Despite the presence of the Journal and other newspapers, magazines seem to be the main focus of News Plus.
For National Geographic, the issue’s table of contents in the News app featured not just headlines, but thumbnail photos from each article.
The “My Magazines” section of the app highlights the issue you were reading most recently.
You can download entire issues to the app by tapping on the icon under the magazines.
Downloading magazines is useful when you’re travelling or don’t have an internet connection.
To test the feature, I downloaded an issue of “ESPN The Magazine” and then put my phone into aeroplane mode. When I returned to the Apple News app, my downloaded “ESPN” magazine was the only thing I could access.
You can also find things to read by scrolling down the app’s home screen; it collects articles in categories including politics, sports, and entertainment.
Overall, the Apple News Plus app looks great and is easy to navigate. If you used the Texture app in the past, it will feel familiar. Apple acquired the magazine aggregation app last year, and its News Plus service feels more like a rebranding of that product than an entirely new offering.
It does, though, have a shortcoming – a lack of daily news content. Apple is clearly trying to highlight its partnerships with The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. But most of the articles you’ll find in Apple News Plus come from magazines.
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