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Apple to acquire digital magazine service Texture (apple.com)
114 points by uptown 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 56 comments



Finger's crossed for this one.

Hopefully this purchase will bolster Apple News. Just yesterday I was wondering if Apple News would be discontinued because Apple seems to have lost interest in it. Which is a shame, because it's probably the best news reader I've encountered. Fast. Versatile. Clean. I'm OK with ads, and the ones in Apple News are very unobtrusive.

I just wish there was an Apple News app for the desktop or web, because I don't always want to read on a tiny screen.

I have used (and often paid for) lots of magazine and newspaper apps over the last ten years, and most of them have been not great. Some not even good.

Some of the publishers have noticed this, and put out their own apps, usually with even worse results. But at least they're not paying someone else to make their brand look terrible. The only one I've found that isn't completely terrible is the New York Times, but even that has its problems.


What makes you feel like they've lost interest in Apple News? I don't use the app much at all so I don't have an opinion but I think it just got a visual overhaul with iOS 11, didn't it? I'm always surprised how many of my friends seem to use it a lot. So I've wondered if it might be a dark horse that we'll all eventually realize is a big deal, like iMessage.


It's not really a secret that Apple News is incredibly popular. Everyone on the publisher side has been talking about how much traffic it drives to their stories for a while now. Journalists even pitch their stories to the Apple News editors to try and get them featured [1].

[1] https://9to5mac.com/2018/02/14/the-information-apple-news/


Ah, I'm behind the times. Thanks!


Personally I don't use it much, but then around the Olympics I checked it out and now use it every single day. It's fantastic.


Apple News is great. I use it more than pretty much any other app aside from Safari.

It’s fast, fluid and presents content in a consistent and attractive way. Better than Flipboard et al it’s even a reasonable replacement to Google Reader (RIP).

It’s a genuine annoyance when a site doesn’t provide a News feed...


News is one of my favorite iOS apps from a technical perspective. The layouts are non-trivial, the content is rendered using native controls (not web views), and I never see frame drops. Compared to an app like Twitter, where the content is much more regular, it's very smooth and natural.


Well, parts of the UI are done with web views, but it's invisible to the end user. This is how hybrid apps should be done, not React Native or Cordova or whatever's being used these days.


There are certainly pieces of content using web views, but the part that jumped out at me is the article content view. If you attach a debugger to News and play around, it's not using web views to render the primary article content.

In the past I was able to get Xcode to let me debug the view hierarchy, but it doesn't work at the moment. Maybe they fixed that.


I'd really like to use Apple News, sadly it's only available in three countries [1].

[1] https://www.apple.com/ios/feature-availability/#news


I was wondering why I couldn't find it, thanks :)


> Apple seems to have lost interest in it

How so? Apple has updated it in every iOS release since it came out. In the most recent one they added a bunch of new features and even their own editorial section. What makes you believe Apple has lost interest in it?


For the most part Texture doesn't deal with preprod. work for the brands. Like Apple News, the established brands will design their own and publish either print-PDF or custom HTML versions. There is usually infrastructure to streamline that production process.

The publishing industry in general widely uses Adobe AEM (& AEM Mobile) to that end.

I hope Apple improves upon Texture, personally. They were kind of a closed-off black box. A lot of compatibility work had to be done through trial-and-error. There was no published standard. Apple News was very thorough that way.


> I just wish there was an Apple News app for the desktop

This is almost surely coming with iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 as they are reported to introduce “unified” apps[0].

[0] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-20/apple-is-...


One part of Apple's media strategy that's confusing to me is how they brand these things.

For instance, how come their exclusive TV programming is branded under Apple Music? How come iTunes is the wrapper for all media ... not just "tunes"?

Seems like they'd benefit from rebranding these products as "Apple Media" (or something like that) then have Apple Music, Apple Video, Apple Texture, etc. as sub-brands under Apple Media. Then, offer a sampling of these services for free to owners of Apple hardware (or at a flat annual fee similar to Amazon Prime's bundled services) and offer premium upsells for those that want a more-expansive or unlimited selection of content.


Let me take a stab:

> how come their exclusive TV programming is branded under Apple Music

They're using the programming to market Apple Music subscriptions. Apple wants to enroll new users, then up-sell them on new hardware. Ben Thompson has a great take on this [1].

> How come iTunes is the wrapper for all media ... not just "tunes"?

I think this is a legacy issue. iTunes started on music, then gradually expanded to movies, TV, etc. Changing this is hard, though, since iTunes has accumulated over 15 years of brand recognition as Apple's media hub.

> as sub-brands under Apple Media

Apple Media has no brand recognition among consumers. Sounds like applying an engineer's mindset to a marketing/branding problem.

[1] https://stratechery.com/2018/apples-middle-age/


> Apple Media has no brand recognition among consumers. Sounds like applying an engineer's mindset to a marketing/branding problem.

Is it really ? For old timers, yes iTunes is the application from the days of uploading stuff on your iPod from a Mac, that's a well known Apple Media Hub for people managing their media on their Mac machine first. The mandatory tool where you manage your iPhone backup and applications.

If you come through the iPhone world, including Apple TV - the iTunes "brand" is basically invisible, they name it "iTune store" and that's the place you buy stuff, not where you look at stuff ( there are dedicated app for that ) This point of out to parent being more right than you give him credit for - Apple made 0 effort to preserve its 15 years investment on its prime platform, it actually did what parent suggested, splitting everything into dedicated app, they just need to rename iTunes Store as "Media Store".

Anyway let's be a bit realistic here, Apple on its own has enough brand recognition that they could very well make a new "Media" product with a nice catchy name and a fresh rewrite or reskin iTunes. I suspect that it the marketing solution but the problem is actually an engineering problem: on MacOS, iTunes has grown feature organically and it probably requires a lot of investment for very little gain.

edit: remove duplicate


> they just need to rename iTunes Store as "Media Store".

'Apple Store' is already a great brand. Why not just declare that the Apple Store now sells media?

The Apple store is nice, both the physical and online versions, while the iTunes store is pretty bad. How about getting the Apple Store people to use their skills on the media store?


> How about getting the Apple Store people to use their skills on the media store?

Because the media store is a legacy product with declining revenue that is already being split into different apps (TV, Apple Music, soon News).

I'm sure it's less about team skills and more about availability. Apple clearly has ambitious plans for its services.

I will say, though, that I've seen so many folks confuse iTunes Store and Apple Store. Merging the two would be smart -- a central place to buy things (digital or physical).


I'm pretty sure it's the App Store, not the Apple Store.

edit: there is an Apple Store, but it's exclusively for Apple hardware


No, I meant the Apple Store. The one that is nice online and in the mall. The design of the App Store and the iTunes Store are not so nice, and the multiplicity of stores is confusing. My proposal is to consolidate the online stores under the one brand that has good design and thus has earned good vibes with the consumer.

(The Apple Store is not exclusively for Apple hardware. They sell third party stuff from phone cases to expensive DJI drones).

https://www.apple.com/ca/shop/product/HLXS2/dji-mavic-air-dr...


I meant the Apple Store app, where folks can buy Apple products and accessories for them. It is not pre-installed on phones, but it could be (which would be in line with Apple's hardware-first strategy).

I did not mean the App Store. Users rarely use it, according to analysis, and adding non-app assets to it makes little sense here:

"Today’s consumers are spending over 85 percent of their time on their smartphones using native applications, but the majority of their time – 84 percent – is spent using just five non-native apps they’ve installed from the App Store." [1]

"In fact, it said that utilities on iPhone and tools on Android accounted for the heaviest monthly usage, and this was largely due to pre-installed apps like Safari on iOS and Google on Android." [2]

[1] https://beta.techcrunch.com/2015/06/22/consumers-spend-85-of...

[2] https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/04/report-smartphone-owners-a...


I didn't say it would be bad to split things up because of the investment in iTunes since 2001 -- I said it would be hard.

I've seen folks confuse iTunes Store with App Store and Apple Store. The split needs to be gradual, with clear on-boarding, since Apple still makes millions from sales on iTunes.

They're investing heavily in cloud services, so I bet there's a multi-year roadmap for splitting iTunes up, each backed by cloud sync and with a unique UI/UX.

News, TV and Music are all split, Texture will likely fall under News.


"Apple Media has no brand recognition among consumers."

True. But Apple Music had no brand recognition when they launched that, and it's only been around since June 8, 2015 when they already had involvement with other forms of media. Why not take that opportunity to rebrand?


They've sunk millions of advertising and branding dollars into Apple Music since then, and they've built tons of goodwill from that investment.


But do you think people know that video content is one element of Apple Music?


I think people will not go to Apple Music looking for shows.

I think they'll look for their favorite shows (Carpool Karaoke) on YouTube, discover they're on Apple Music, then use that as another reason to pay $10/month for it.


Sounds like they didn't learn the lesson if they're now branding video content under Apple Music just because it launched as a music service first.


“Media” is too bland and generic. Might as well call it “Apple Content”. Yuuuuck


Maybe. Media isn't necessarily a "sexy" word given the legacy relationship with physical media that the content industry is leaving behind. But it'd free them up to use the more-accurate names for the content that was marketed under that umbrella. You'd still have Apple Music. And Apple TV. And Apple Movies. (Or whatever they want to call each tier of the content). Right now I'd bet virtually nobody knows you need to use Apple Music to watch Planet of the Apps or some of their other TV content, and it's certainly not intuitive for somebody new to their ecosystem.


"Apple Records". Gives you access to anything that was recorded.


If this were all possible it would likely involve a very expensive licensing deal with Apple Corps. as Apple Records already exists.


That was the joke... Apple Inc. has already trampled on Apple Corps multiple times, with the latest settlement giving them right to the name in every other context except this one, AFAIK.


Just use "Apple Store". Now sells media. Simple. They already own one of the top retail brands, and it doesn't suck.


Apple Online. AOL for short.


Hopefully Apple will turn Apple News into a News spotify. I would happily pay a subscription - say 2 tiers light <2> heavy (hr pw) $10 / $20 pm - with the subs shared amoungst content providers based on time spent reading. I subscribe to several now such as FT, Economist, Times. Expensive and a real pain though, having multiple subs so I may drop them soon, an aggregated sub would be so much better. Apple News would be an excellent platform for this, I love it’s layout, quality and Font size controls. I tried Readly App it’s reader is truly awfull based on pdf version of paper mags so you have to pan and scan and scroll all the time.


Is this good news or bad news (or no news even) for Blendle? https://launch.blendle.com/ “Discover the best journalism. No paywalls, no ads, just stories you'll love. We're in beta. Reserve your spot.”

edit: What the hell is with the downvotes? I only ask because someone on here mentioned that Blendle are in roughly the same business–meaning, as Texture they also claim to offer a "multi-title subscription service giving users the ability to instantly access some of the most widely read magazines while on the go"


My first thought too. And since services like Blendle lean heavily on iOS for generating money I think it's probably bad news for them. But at least they had a great time playing with their investors money while they were growing ;)

https://twitter.com/alexandernl/status/585415710546993153


At least it’s Apple, so chances are they will do something useful with it.

Google could’ve bought it and shut it down.


Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook eating up every business


Any chance they will continue to support non-Apple platforms?


Apple is a fascinating company, with their massive cash reserves they have a lot of options. I feel like they’re exploring banking, publishing in all forms, in addition to their software and hardware ventures. I hope it works out, although I look at the bugs and issues with iOS and MacOS and worry that there is a loss of focus on what makes them Apple in the first place.


I'm honestly surprised with myself for forgetting that iTunes once felt like the go-to place for media; it seems to me like this move is in support of those sorts of endeavors.


Apple might be moving into the era Oracle Corp moved into 15 years ago, where all innovation will occur through acquisition.


That is not entirely true. People have these fantasy where innovation == invention. Apple is the one with the ecosystem and marketing power that brings new invention with value to customers. And mostly with an improved version of the invention.

The day Apple make acquisition and brings a poor product or services out is the day they enter Oracle Era. Given how I think Oracle makes ( mostly ) absolutely appalling products I say the day is yet to come and far from happening in near future.


> The day Apple make acquisition and brings a poor product or services out is the day they enter Oracle Era.

What about Siri?

/Siri, add ginger ale to my groceries list. // I've added gaming hammer to your groceries list.

/Siri, what's the weather? // Here are some web sites I found about "weather."


So for fun I switched Siri to German and well, no issue whatsoever.

Was ist das Wetter heute -> Hier ist die Vorhersage für heute

No worries there.

Füge Ginger Ale auf meiner Einkaufsliste hinzu -> Du hast keine Liste namens "Einkauf". Soll ich eine erstellen? -> Ja -> Ok, ich habe das zu deiner Liste Einkauf-Liste hinzugefügt.

I'm pretty sure I translated grocery list wrong but even with my shit German Siri got me what I was trying to do.

I probably should have used https://dict.leo.org/englisch-deutsch/Einkaufszettel now that I look at it. OOPS.


I don't like voice assistants, but she's not that bad. When I ask these questions, she asks if I want to create a grocery list (I don't have one) and shows me the 7-day forecast.


Hey Siri, play Delta Blues!

..Delta Blues starts playing.

Hey Siri, play the first album from T-Bone Burnet.

..and it plays.

Play the number one song from 1983..

And Every Breath You Take by The Police starts playing.


"Hey Siri, play Förgätmigej by Raubtier"

..good luck with that one.


> The day Apple make acquisition and brings a poor product or services out is the day they enter Oracle Era.

Does Apple Maps count for that?

I think a more reasonable standard would be if there was a consistent pattern of making bad choices.


Yes it does, along with Apple Music. Especially on an International Level. But It is improving, just at a very slow pace. May be we just have very high expectation on Apple, so we are always little too critical.

And I agree with consistent pattern of bad choices.


Let's hope not. Oracle is where innovation goes to die. Their catalog of software is a horrendous maze of interconnected crap. Dealing with that suite nearly brought me to leave my current organization. Mercifully I was moved off that team.


“Innovation” doesn’t feel like the right term. Texture appears to simply re-package content. In my mind, Apple is buying a “product-owner” to move on it’s greater ambitions (Apple News).


A chip designing, consumer gadget producing, software development, media distribution company with the amount of cash they have on hand is a bit different beast than "Database company that no one wants to work with, except when forced to by mgmt."


You’re right, Apple is doomed. Again. They always have been




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