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‘The New York Times’ kicked Apple News to the curb
New York Times and others are pushing back against App Store commissions.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Wall Street Journal won’t bail on Apple News

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The Wall Street Journal is staying put with Apple News
The Wall Street Journal sees multiple benefits from being part of Apple News.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

In the wake of The New York Times quitting Apple News, the head of News Corp. says that The Wall Street Journal isn’t leaving the news service that’s built into iOS and macOS.

Apple News Today is an Apple News+ promo disguised as a peppy news podcast [Review]

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Apple News Today review: A daily news podcast with zero partisan rage.
Apple News Today is a news podcast with zero partisan rage.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Apple News Today, the breezy new podcast showcasing the day’s top news stories, sounds perfectly peppy and polished. Maybe too perfectly polished, in fact — you won’t find a single rough edge on this slickly produced daily news report, which Apple unleashed last week with iOS 13.6. You will endure no energized, partisan rants, either. These straight-down-the-middle reports won’t get your blood boiling while you make your morning coffee or tea. If you’re tired of partisanship, this is the antidote.

What you will find in the weekday audio show is steady promotion of the Apple News app, and of Apple News+, the company’s reportedly struggling subscription news service. This upbeat and earnest free daily news briefing basically functions as a Trojan horse for getting in the ears of potential Apple News+ subscribers.

New York Times bails on Apple News

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‘The New York Times’ kicked Apple News to the curb
Don’t expect to see The New York Times in Apple News any more.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

New York Times articles stopped appearing in the Apple News app on Monday. The newspaper ended its partnership with Apple because the Times wants a more direct connection between itself and its customers.

This is not just about the Apple News+ subscription service. Content from this source no longer appears in the free version either.

Google rival to Apple News+ will be free

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News app top stories
Apple News+ could be about to get fresh competition from a premium version of Google News.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Google will pay publishers so it can create “a new news experience launching later this year,” the company said Thursday. While the announcement is vague, Google seems to be putting together a rival for Apple News+, a subscription news-aggregation service for Mac, iPhone and iPad.

Apple News algorithm is way more celebrity-obsessed than Apple’s human editors

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Apple News
Apple News is used by 85 million users every month.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Stories picked by Apple News’ human editors are far more likely to represent a diverse range of outlets — and be more serious and less focused on celebrities and entertainment — than its algorithmically curated alternative, researchers claim.

Jack Bandy and Nicholas Diakopoulos from Northwestern University analyzed thousands of Apple’s “Top Stories” and “Trending” articles over a 10-month period. They discovered that the latter, which are determined algorithmically, show stories from significantly fewer outlets, predominantly CNN or Fox News. Articles from BuzzFeed and People also figured heavily in the mix — with an emphasis on light news.

This one trick will make the Apple News app way better

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Scrolling Apple News on iPhone
Scrolling Apple News doesn't have to be about ignoring dozens of articles.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Ever since its launch, people have mostly been dismissive about Apple News on iPhone, iPad and Mac. One big reason is the way it interacts with links on the web, boxing users into the News app instead of letting them visit the open web.

For me, that’s actually a pretty desirable thing, because I really like the News app. It’s much cleaner-looking than many ad-bloated websites, and far less emotional and combative than getting your news on social media.

But making the News app show you the things you care about, with less clutter and noise, requires one simple trick.