Apple News + has been unavailable in a month, and some publishers are already frustrated. A recent report from Digiday describes how some publishers with formatting issues, communication with Apple and others have more headaches.
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In its original releases, Apple promised to do so by providing design resources and article templates. According to today's report, which points to communication with five publishers, Apple's promise has been "half true". Apple is said to outsource template design to third parties:
Apple has also failed to provide articles or content templates for publishers. Although it has worked directly with publishers who have decided to create their own templates for Apple News +, it has largely outsourced the article template issue to multiple vendors, each of which leaves something to be desired, say the contributing publishers.
Publishers are also frustrated with how Apple communicates with publishers. The company has given all publishers an email address to which they can send pitches, but the larger publishers have been invited to a private slack channel and therefore have a more direct communication link with Apple:
A smaller, select group of Publishers were invited to join a private Slack channel where they could make direct contact with Apple, which annoyed several sources when they were informed of the existence of the channel. "Basically, they play favorites," said the first source. "It always seems to be good for the big boys, but not for the rest of us."
When creating Apple News + content, many publishers rely on tools that scan PDFs and render them in a digital format. The problem with this process, however, is that the tools are broken and that everything has to be re-edited. "The technology is so flawed that every topic has to be effectively re-copied and edited to ensure that design, formatting, and spacing appear in one piece," the report said, citing multiple sources.
Publisher You then need to decide if the Apple News + Read is worth the manual formatting of content, or if uploading scanned PDF files is sufficient:
Smaller magazine publishers who do not have the resources to design their own Templates have a host of options to choose from: invest valuable design and development work to create something beautiful without knowing if there is an audience that appreciates it. Use an established template that makes your content look just like dozens of other publishers. or wait with a PDF, and hope that a different user experience will not cost your readers.
Finally, the report states that the early troubles plaguing Apple News + "do not bode well for its long-term future unless Apple adapts its approach.
It remains to be seen whether these issues will prove long-term enough to affect Apple News +. However, if the formatting issues continue, it is likely that Apple News + will become a collection of scanned PDF files – a heavy sale at $ 9.99 a month.
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