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Apple's answer to Facebook Instant Articles

Apple News App

Less than a month after Facebook announced the arrival of Instant Articles, Apple has answered with their own native news app, the aptly-named News. Announced earlier this week at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, News provides direct access to published content on Apple devices as a native app experience. Like Facebook’s Instant Articles, News will host articles built specifically for the app as well as content pulled in from publisher’s websites. Articles created using the new Apple News Format will look especially sharp with the ability to add rich-media such as photos, videos, audio, and infographics.

One of the biggest selling points of News is the reading experience on mobile. According to a report from comScore, 60% of digital media consumption in the U.S. takes place on a mobile device. A quick look at the top mobile apps downloaded reveals a list dominated by content distribution platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Snapchat. It’s clear that the way we prefer to consume content is on our mobile devices.

News shows that Apple is very aware of the evolving trends and expectations of news readers today. “News seamlessly delivers the articles you want to read in a beautiful and uncluttered format, while respecting your privacy, because Apple doesn’t share your personal data,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. A personalized feed called For You pulls articles from the web based on your interests. A smart discovery news feed called Explore makes suggestions based on what you’ve read, and the more you read the more it learns and the better it gets.

Like Facebook, News comes with an extensive built-in consumer group. Every person with an Apple device (Apple sold their 500 millionth iPhone last year) will have direct access to hand-selected, beautiful articles. Not surprisingly, several publishing powerhouses are in on the action, including ESPN, Condé Nast, Bloomberg, CNN, and Buzzfeed. The desire to provide fast, functional, and relevant media has been a major industry focus, and Apple’s involvement with News is highly-anticipated.

2015 is the year of Distributed Content

Individual publishers (and their destination websites) will continue to decrease in importance as social media services (Facebook Instant Articles, Snapchat Discovery), communication platforms (Viber, WeChat) and device manufacturers (Apple) become content curators and the main point of contact for news (and other stories).

The press release by Apple can be read here.


Facebook Instant Articles — a better experience on mobile.

Last week Facebook announced the arrival of “Instant Articles a new way for publishers to post articles on Facebook that allows for faster viewing and sharing. You can experience Instant Articles through the Facebook mobile app. The program enables content creators to publish articles that are hosted natively on the app’s News Feed and won’t require readers to follow an external link to the article. This makes articles available instantly, eliminating the usual eight seconds (on a good day) of loading another website.

Web Link vs Instant Articles

Web Link vs Instant Articles

Posted by Mike Matas on Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Not only is Instant Articles faster, but also more mobile-reader-oriented, with a striking interactive format that demands attention. Videos embedded in the article will autoplay as readers scroll through the story. Interactive maps allow readers to explore the locations in which the stories take place. Readers can view zoomed-in, high-resolution photos from a variety of angles simply by tilting their phones. And, connecting it all back to Facebook, readers can like and comment on individual lines and sections of the article.

This is all the HTML a publisher needs to write to create this Instant Article interactive map with an audio caption.Stuff like this is currently really difficult, if not impossible to build in the mobile web. Hopefully by making them a lot easier to build they will become commonplace in the articles we read on our phones.

Posted by Mike Matas on Saturday, May 16, 2015

It’s aesthetically elegant, it’s quick, and it’s easy to see why Instant Articles has attracted big-name content creators such as National Geographic, BuzzFeed, and The New York Times. With over a billion active users on Facebook, the built-in readership and exposure readily available for articles and other content is powerful. Instant Articles represents a major step forward in the world of mobile content publishing.

The Instant Article publishing feature is coming soon to our content creation and publishing tool, Particle. The content you create in Particle can then be posted on Facebook as a native Instant Article, no extra formatting required. Stay tuned for more on Particle.