If you haven’t seen the new products, head on over to Apple.com and/or watch the keynote.
Enhancements to Apple News and the addition of a new subscription services to about 300 newspapers and magazines. MacStories has a list of all the titles on board at launch. At $9.99/month, I’m not sure how valuable this will be to me; I was an early iPad user and still remember the push of getting magazines on to the iPad, including the ill fated The Daily. However, I do have a couple magazine subscriptions that are expiring soon and are on their list. I signed up for the free month of Apple News+ and I’m willing to give it a couple of months to see how things shakeout. With Family Sharing on News+, I’ll also be trying to push my kids in to finding something to read on a semi-regular basis.
That said, I’ve been a pretty heavy user of Apple News on the iPhone and to a lesser extent on my iPad Pro. I try to customize it to my wants and needs but have been pretty frustrated by getting diverse subject areas to pull through to the “For You” section. I loved Zite on my iPad back in the day, but after Flipboard acquired it, I struggled to find a news aggregator app I loved. Reddit is probably my closest replacement for subject matter content and Feedly for my RSS feed aggregation.
I also dabble with Google News in the widget space on my iPhone, right below my Apple News widget. I’ll save that comparison for another day.
As for the rest of the presentation, this felt like something non-Apple-like. A company usually holding future products close to the vest, and if they do announce something new, pricing information is usually part of the mix. For some of these announcements, it felt like some of the pie-in-the-sky things other tech companies would announce at their annual developer days. Things that often won’t see the light of day down the road. That said, here’s my quick takes.
Having two kids who are often asking for the hot new game of the moment, the subscription service might end up being something totally awesome. But the thing is, I’ve already purchased many of the games they showed off on the stage. I’ve long been a supporter of small and independent developers – expanding even to modern day Creators in different forms. Pricing could be a make or break for me here. In a household with a couple Xbox Ones with Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass, a Nintendo Switch, and few different classic consoles (NES, SNES, Playstation) I think we are already at peak gaming in our house.
New TV App on AppleTV
Thank you. Updates to this app are quite welcome. The UI/UX on an AppleTV has been so dependent upon the app of the media you wanted to consume, that there hasn’t been much unity in how to get things done with the absurd Apple TV Remote. I love the the fact that the new TV App can tie many of those services together. But bummed NetFlix isn’t on board. I “guess baby” steps as they say.
Channel subscriptions aren’t much of an attraction for me. We were cord cutters a few years ago and haven’t looked back. Still, I can see the appeal for many folks and truth-be-told, we will dive in every now then for a pay service and binge watching session.
I’m really looking forward to this. But again, pricing will be a concern. While I can certainly afford a few subscriptions here and there, it has to have a level of quality to keep me coming back. Apple rolled out some big name Hollywood talent and with overarching theme of Storytelling covering this part of the keynote, I hope the content lives up to the hype. My household is one of movie buffs and strong original content will be big draw for us.
As a (mostly) credit-card free household, the idea of an Apple credit card doesn’t really have much of a sell with me. However, Apple is about the platform and it will be interesting to see how things shake out. While it seemed attractive on stage, some with better knowledge of the credit card industry have some pretty good analysis. Peter Berg’s Thread on Twitter is one such take. I certainly think Apple throwing their weight in to financial services will have an effect of the industry. Other than taking on social, they usually raise the bar wherever they decide to set foot.
Like I said before, the whole keynote just seemed kind of un-Apple like. But, maybe this is the new Apple. Just like last week’s new product announcements, out of the blue and a couple different things over a 3 day news cycle.