Apple are increasing the amount of human curated news articles in Apple News
In recent weeks, Apple News has been increasing the number of Editors’ Picks they include as part of the Apple News Updates channel. I noticed it first a month or so ago when I began to get an email every Saturday morning with links to a curated selection of Weekend Reading. Already I find myself looking forward to their weekly suggestions and typically find at least one article of genuine interest I would not have stumbled across otherwise.
(Saturday’s highlight was a fascinating article in 1843 about how the data shows that couples with boys are more likely to stay together.)
Since the advent of these weekly Weekend Reading picks, Apple have also been adding various other Editors’ Picks they now publish. There are Travel, Sport, Tech & Science, and Health & Wellness updates that go out each week.
Naturally, not every article is a perfect hit in matching my interests, but it’s rare not to find some that will grab my attention. These are clearly carefully curated articles that have been chosen by humans and not algorithms.
The other benefit from this is that the Editors’ Picks are only from publications that are fully utilising the Apple News Format. And so as well as now regularly discovering interesting articles, it also points me to new publications I wasn’t aware of.
There really isn’t much talk of Apple News among the tech pundits. I suspect many of them think of it as a failure—primarily because they and their colleagues don’t use it. But I continue to be be bullish about Apple News.
For people used to personally curating their RSS feeds, I can see why it might not be for them. But for the rest of us (i.e. normal people), Apple News is a great way to get a regular supply of personalised content without any of the hassle of managing your own RSS feeds. And these Editors’ Picks Apple have added to the mix are a real plus.
Of course, in truth Apple News isn’t competing with geeks who manage their own RSS feeds. They are competing with Facebook. Most people aren’t using dedicated news apps to access the articles they read. They open Facebook and end up reading what’s being shared within their network.
The advantage Apple News has over, say, the BBC News app though, is that Apple News brings together multiple sources. You can find all (mostly) your favourite publications and follow them in one place. And you can pick the subjects that interest you and let Apple pull in articles related to those.
The result is a great hub of news and articles that have high probability of being of interest. I don’t think it’ll overtake Facebook in being the primary way people read their news, but I do think the potential is real and, though purely anecdotal, it’s been interesting to see several non-geeky family members regularly using Apple News.
That Apple has been adding these Editors’ Picks is a sign that they are still investing heavily in Apple News. And it’s a great addition to the mix of algorithmically generated news.