THE iOS 13.6 just arrived and – in addition to the news we were already expecting for the update – brought good improvements to the Apple news platform, Apple News (and its paid version, the News +). A word to sum up the new features? Audio.
The first novelty is the Apple News Today, a kind of news spin that can be heard inside the platform or on Apple Podcasts. Its proposal is similar to that of Flash Briefing, from Alexa, but with a very important human element: here, headlines are presented and discussed by Apple News editors, Shumita Basu and Duarte Geraldino.
The episodes, released daily from Monday to Friday, will be available in the morning; presenters will bring to the conversation some of the main headlines of the day and choose three or four more important news items to analyze further. Each episode lasts between seven and eight minutes and is focused, of course, on listeners in the United States – there is no news as to whether Apple plans to release versions of the program to other countries where Apple News is available.
THE Apple News Today will be made available free of charge to all Apple News users, but News + subscribers will receive one more specific feature: audio reporting. Each week, the platform will produce about 20 “listenable” reports based on content produced by a series of vehicles, such as The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, TEAM, Wired, Esquire, Fast Company, GQ, New York Magazine, Sports Illustrated and Vogue.
The audio reports will be narrated by professional announcers and can be heard in the Apple News application itself. Whenever the user is in a report that has the audio version available, a headset icon will appear; just touch it to start listening to the content. Likewise, when browsing news and news lists, those with audio versions available will also have the headphones icon.
To facilitate navigation with the new features, the app received a small internal reorganization: a new tab, called «Audio», starts to live with the options on the bottom navigation bar. By touching it, users will see the most recent episode of Apple News Today, the audio reports scheduled to listen later and a series of recommendations.
THE CarPlay was also updated on iOS 13.6 to accommodate the news, and is already able to reproduce the Apple News Today and audio reports. Users’ progress is synchronized across all their devices, so you can pause a report on the Mac and resume it on the iPhone, for example.
In addition to the audio news, Apple News will also reinforce local news coverage in select areas of the U.S. – more specifically, New York, Los Angeles, Houston and the area of San Francisco Bay, in this first moment.
Users of these sites will have access to a specific area of local news, curated and organized by a specific editor; the screen will bring weather forecasts for the area and news / reports from various editorials, such as politics, sports, varieties, entertainment and health. The news will be made available to all users of Apple News, without subscription.
Even without specific curatorship, local and regional newspapers from other areas were added to Apple News +, such as Miami Herald, The The State it’s the The Charlotte Observer. In Canada, the French language newspaper was added Le Devoir; other important publications in the country, such as The Globe it’s the Mail, will be added in the coming months.
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Obviously, none of this is particularly encouraging for us Brazilians, since neither Apple News nor News + are available here. Still, it’s nice to see the platform moving forward – even to hope that the news will arrive here at some point. Who knows?