Some Publishers Unhappy With Apple News+ Launch and Lack of Help From Apple
When encouraging publications to sign up, Apple promised design resources and templates for customizing content for the Apple News format, but as it turns out, Apple is shutting out some smaller publications and "playing favorites" with larger publishers.
All participating publishers have been provided with an email address for sending pitches for design help, but a smaller group of publishers has been provided with access to a private Slack channel.
But a smaller, select group of publishers were invited to join a private Slack channel where they could connect with Apple more directly, a move that exasperated several sources when they were informed of the channel's existence. "They're basically playing favorites," that first source said. "It always seems to be good for the big guys, but not for the rest of us."
Apple has not provided Apple-designed article or content templates to publishers and has "largely outsourced" templates to vendors, which has resulted in bugs and other issues, along with much more work for publishers.
Magazine publishers need to use tools to scan PDFs and convert them into individual articles and advertisements, but the technology is said to be so buggy that each issue needs to be "effectively copy- and design-edited all over again."
Smaller magazines that don't have the resources for these full redesigns need to either invest time and money anyway or submit a PDF instead. A lot of the content within Apple News+ at the current time is PDF-based, which does not make for the greatest user reading experience.
Publishers are also said to be frustrated with the "uneven user experience" in Apple News with the split between PDFs and the new Apple News format. "You think of Apple, and they're so design-conscious," said one publisher. "This doesn't feel like that at all."
According to Digiday, the publishers that it spoke to said that the flaws in Apple News+ do not "bode well for its long-term future" unless Apple adapts its approach and makes some key changes to the service.
Apple News+ users have also expressed frustration with the service, and at MacRumors we've heard numerous complaints from Apple customers confused by the unintuitive user interface and unhappy with the lack of features.