Random Thoughts Technology

Some Quick Thoughts on Apple News

I know the tech world is currently busy covering Apple News+, but I’ve recently just been trying out plain old Apple News recently for the first time. Here’s some random thoughts.

  • I actually think it’s a decently designed app. It does nothing outstanding, but it displays stories and their texts simply. It does its job.
  • The main thing I’m not a fan of design wise is the time when posted text (e.g. ‘4h ago’, see screenshot) below each article. As long as it was published today I don’t care about the time published. And I don’t like how it’s placed at the bottom of each story block, as it can look a little stranded if the headline is a short one.
  • You really need to train it. If News was made by Google or Amazon you’d launch the app for the first time and it would would be eerily good at showing you stories of interest. But this is Apple so it takes some time to set it up to get good results. You have to be very proactive in blocking websites and disliking certain stories.
  • The typeface on the Mac version is too small and I don’t think there’s a way to enlarge it.
  • I never visit the human curated ‘Spotlight’ section. Nothing has ever caught my eye in there.
  • Overall I’ve found a lot of the negatives aren’t to do with Apple News itself and are instead due to the websites that are within it. Online journalism now is too short, too wrong and too clickbaity. And there just isn’t enough good articles published each to day to fill out the ‘columns’ of the Apple News app. But maybe the new higher-quality paid stuff in News+ will help with that problem.
Link Technology

IFTTT for iPhone

IFTTT has just released its iPhone app.

The ‘activity log’ stream is the first thing you see in the app, and I’m glad, as it’s vital to know your recipes are running fine. On the website it’s always been buried in the nav and I’m sure many users don’t know it even exists.

Elsewhere it does everything you’d expect, like create, find and toggle on/off recipes. There’s also three new channels you can use thanks to the app: Photos, Reminders, and Contacts. Though you have to either open the app or allow it to leave location services on to run recipes these new channels.

IFTTT for iPhone doesn’t ‘automate your entire phone‘, but it’s a very good first effort.

Download it for free [iTunes link]