The news and information business– the legitimate kind– is in trouble. Apple is trying to help. I applaud the effort, but I worry whether Apple News and News+ will matter, even if the service has over 100-million readers.
What’s the problem? Money, fragmentation, and curation.
Prior to Apple News, I gathered news and information the old fashioned way. Different apps (yes, there is a way even more old fashioned than that but it required killing trees). That meant to get my daily dose of what’s going on around the world required keeping a dozen different apps.
AP, USA Today, WSJ, NYT, Fox, and CNN, of course, among many others; all free, all curated in a general sort of way– by me– and all of which helped to grow my information overload.
I tried Flipboard for a while but realized the curation attempts were from feeble amateurs and not from those with a good understanding of world events.
Apple News came along and I fell in love with a single source app that provided multiple curated sources that could be further curated by my own tastes and needs.
Apple News+ came along and for a measly $10 a month promised an even wider variety of content; so much content that even more personal curation was required.
Meanwhile, the standard non-subscription Apple News app began to thin out and become less valuable, therefore less inclined to attract readers to the subscription version.
Here’s the deal.
Apple News is no longer good enough to keep around. It’s too cumbersome to manage a dozen different news and information sources even if they’re free. That leaves the subscription to Apple News+ as a very good deal, but I sense two problems.
First, not enough money gets to the publishers to make it worth their while. Second, I feel bad about spending $10 a month for hundreds of publications while I can only digest a dozen or so each month.
For now, I’ll continue the subscription but I don’t feel good about it. If I leave, publishers will suffer and I believe sincerely that legitimate news and information sources need to be supported. If I stay, I feel bad about paying for so much that I cannot use or digest.
Despite the convenience and variety, I’m beginning to miss newspapers and magazines made of paper.