Apple today released a press statement featuring Apple News+ (Apple News Plus) following its initial debut in March with iOS 12.2. Whilst the company did not disclose any figures about number of users who have signed up to $9.99/month News+ subscription, Apple included endorsements from participating publishers and highlighted a UI change it made in iOS 12.3 to make following articles easier.

In the statement, Apple SVP Eddy Cue says Apple has hundreds of employees from editorial to engineering and design working on Apple News+, perhaps an indirect response to some of the early community feedback that criticized the News+ experience as confusing.

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The new follow button was included as a bullet point in the iOS 12.3 release notes but now Apple has decided to give it more exposure with its own press release.

The change is that there is now a blue ‘Follow’ button attached to the cover of every magazine from the catalog view. Tapping ‘Follow’ immediately adds the publication to the user’s collection and new issues are downloaded automatically, so users can read their favorites offline.

Since the launch of News+, a following concept existed but finding the interface to do it was stupidly convoluted. Users would have to tap through to a magazine, then tap on the magazine logo in the navigation bar, then tap the Heart icon. It was simply too many steps for a fundamental operation.

Now that following is more obvious, Apple is probably hoping that overall user satisfaction with the app will rise. It will be interesting to see how the News+ design continues to evolve in the coming months with future software updates, as Apple hopefully addresses more of the complaints.

Apple’s SVP Internet Services Eddy Cue says they are hearing feedback from publishers and have hundreds of employees working to make News+ ‘the best experience for people’:

“We’ve heard a lot of great feedback from the hundreds of publishers available in Apple News+. The latest updates to Apple News+ aim to best showcase their incredible journalism and put the most trusted news sources at readers’ fingertips,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Apple News+ customers are very engaged readers, with most visiting the News app daily. Hundreds of people at Apple, across editorial, engineering, marketing and design teams, are working to make Apple News+ the best experience for people who love reading their favorite titles and discovering new stories.”
The press release featured upcoming stories from Vox, People magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, Martha Stewart, and Popular Science. Vox says that its May 2019 issue demonstrates the full range of ambition for the Apple News Format which aims to offer a richer experience than simple images and text.
Apple News+ is available in the United States and Canada. Apple had already announced that it will be launching the subscription service in the United Kingdom later in 2019.
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