Apple earlier today pushed iOS 9 beta 3 to developers, and this build includes the company’s new News app. The app was unveiled back at WWDC last month, but was not included in the first two beta builds of iOS 9. News is designed with a Flipboard-like magazine interface with large images and minimalistic appearance.
When you first open the app, Apple shows a splash screen welcoming you to News and describes that the more you read, the more personalized your News app will become. Specifically for the beta version of News, Apple is including content from five publications by default. Those publications include The New York Times, CNN, ESPN, The Atlantic, and Slate. After viewing those pre-selected sources, you are then asked to pick at least three more sources that you wish to read. If you want to add an RSS feed not in the app, simply go to Safari, navigate to the site you wish to add, tap the share sheet icon, and choose “Add to News.”
News then asks you if you would like to have content from the News app emailed to you. After you make a decision on that screen, you’re taken to the actual News app. You’re first presented with a stream “For You” that includes content from all of the sources you chose during setup. Along the bottom of the app are other tabs to view your sources individually, explore new content, search for other publications, and view the articles you have saved for later.
In the Explore tab, Apple includes suggestions that it thinks you would enjoy, based on the sources you have already added and the articles on which you have tapped the “heart” option. Apple offers both specific channels it thinks you would enjoy, as well as more general topics. There’s also an option for viewing sources within specific categories, such as sports, technology, and business.
While reading an article, there are three options at the bottom: one to heart, one to bring up a Share Sheet, and another to save the article for later. Any article you save will be viewable via the Saved tab at the bottom of the interface. The Saved tab also offers an option to see a list of all the articles you have read with Apple News. While reading an article, you can tap the header or slide up from the bottom to go to the web version of the publication.
If you head into the Settings app on iOS, you’ll see a new option for News. Within that menu are controls for notifications, background app refresh, cellular data, and more.
In my brief usage, Apple News is certainly nice to look at with its large images and embedded videos. The app also seems to load content relatively smoothly. There will likely be changes before News officially launches to the public later this year with iOS 9. If you’re looking to get your publication in Apple News, check out our guide from earlier this year.
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