Today, Apple unveiled its news subscription service, Apple News+, which includes magazine offerings from Time, Vogue, the New Yorker, and National Geographic, as well as digital subscriptions to the Skimm, the Cut, TechCrunch, and Vulture.
The subscription will cost $9.99 per month and includes unlimited access to all of the service’s publishers, with Family Sharing — but only through apps on the company’s products: iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices. Apple is offering the first month free, and it’s currently only available to customers in the US and Canada.
Digital subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times newspapers are also included in Apple News+.
In 2015, Apple began shipping every iPhone with a preloaded, free News app, which features content from magazines and other outlets, based on the user’s interest, as well as a trending stories section and a featured section curated by Apple’s on-staff editors. The service announced today will be offered within the existing News app, and only available to people with an iPhone or Mac computer.
With a subscription, the app will portray a “live cover,” which features a looping video clip, in the News app’s main Today tab. A new, dedicated News+ tab in the News app includes a My Magazines section, with favorited and suggested magazines, as well as a featured magazine story picked by Apple News editors and new, selected issues. The articles are designed to be immersive and fill the device’s entire screen, whether it’s on an iPad or iPhone.
“I love being at the newsstand ... We want them all, but we might be only able to get one or two,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. Apple News+ is designed to bring over 300 magazines under one subscription. Travel, lifestyle, news, and sports are some of the categories offered.
At the event, Apple said the app was designed “with privacy from the ground up” and emphasized that the company doesn’t know what you read or allow advertisers to track your reading habits.
Apple has already used its news products as a way to distinguish itself from other sources of content, namely Facebook.
In its announcement for the News app’s 2018 midterm elections section, editor-in-chief Lauren Kern wrote “our goal is to illuminate, not enrage” and “we’ll always steer clear of rumor and propaganda.”
Facebook and Google have been criticized for the way their platforms, which rely largely on users to flag inappropriate content, surface misinformation. Most recently, Rep. Adam Schiff wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, over concerns about the proliferation of anti-vaccination content hosted on their sites. While Apple’s news products rely more on human editors than algorithms, unlike Facebook and Google, its deeper foray into media may subject the company to the same criticism and scrutiny lobbed at Facebook and Google.
Apple News+ is similar to the company’s Apple Music subscription, which also costs $10 per month and has 56 million paid and free trial subscribers. Apple’s efforts to boost its service offerings is in part due to slowed iPhone sales in China. By offering premium content, Apple is hoping to make its devices more enticing, as well as gain additional revenue from distributing that content to millions of iPhones, iPads, and Macs around the world.
People described as “familiar with the situation” told the Wall Street Journal that Apple planned to retain “about half of the subscription revenue from the service,” while the remaining revenue would be parceled out to publishers, depending on how much time users spend on their content.