Flipboard Founder Claims Apple News is ‘a Product Living in the Past’

Apple's mobile news platform has been accused of "living in the past" by the co-founder and head of rival news curation service Flipboard. The comments were made at Tuesday's Code Media event in California, where Flipboard CEO Mike McCue participated in an onstage Q&A regarding the future of content curation in the digital mobile space.

Now in its eighth year, the Flipboard iOS app organizes online articles into a more conducive reading format for mobile devices, and reaches around 100 million users a month. Comparatively, major rival Apple News – which Apple began shipping with iOS 9 – has at least 70 million monthly users.


"When you're an entrepreneur and you're competing with Apple, that's a pretty big deal," said McCue. "They're a partner and a competitor at the same time." McCue then went on to criticize Apple's mobile news platform for its lack of human curation.
"Apple News as a product is living in the past. There's no social sharing capability, no curation happening — it's algorithmic,” McCue said, adding: "It's another format that publishers have to adopt."
McCue also picked holes in Apple's walled garden approach to online content, comparing Flipboard's ad-friendly platform to Apple News's "closed ecosystem", which McCue called "a big deal for publishers". The suggestion here is that Flipboard benefits publishers by regularly redirecting readers to the publisher's site, where more ads are shown, whereas Apple News keeps users within the app's native display format with its attendant ad restrictions.

Despite the latter approach, Apple News does offer a built-in advertising platform that allows publishers to earn 100 percent of the revenue from the content they publish, or 70 percent of revenue from iAds inventory sold by Apple. The Apple News Format also lets publishers create custom editorial layouts geared towards their individual brands, allowing content to be viewed by millions of iPhone and iPad users in the way the publishers intended.


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Flipboard for iOS Updated With New Deeply Personalized ‘Smart Magazines’

News-focused iOS app Flipboard today announced an update that introduces a new UI which creates custom, curated magazines based on various user "passions." The Version 4.0 update is said to be a direct response to the overabundance of news sources -- from magazines to online outlets and social media -- and serve as a way to "effortlessly get you to the things you love."


The heart of the new update is a featured called "Smart Magazine." Here users can search and specify specific passions and topics they care about (photography, movies, etc.), and Smart Magazine will create a digital collection of up-to-date stories and news on each topic, and continuously update the section as new stories break. The new tool is said to be curated "by experts and enthusiasts."
Flipboard 4.0 is a response to our ever-growing ecosystem of publishers, Flipboard Magazines, topics and more. With over 30 million magazines created, thousands of publishers on our platform, and tens of thousands of topics—plus input from social networks like Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn—we re-imagined Flipboard to more effortlessly get you to the things you love.

Long-time readers who follow lots of content should find a more streamlined experience, while new users will be able to dive right into their passions with minimal setup.
Users will be able to pick from a collection of sub-categories once they search for a Smart Magazine passion to follow, and a learning algorithm will improve Flipboard's news aggregation features over time. On the Home carosuel users can have up to nine Smart Magazines.


Flipboard originally launched on iPad in 2010, and then on iPhone in 2011, accompanied by a Tweet from Phil Schiller who remarked that the app was "very nice." Since then, Flipboard has gained a bevy of competitors in the online news aggregation space, including Apple News. In 2015 one competitor, Zite, bowed out of the race and encouraged fans to migrate to Flipboard in its stead.

At the time of writing, the update hasn't hit the App Store yet, but it should appear later in the day. Flipboard is available on the iOS App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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