Apple announced this week their new expansion of their News app a paid subscription model called News+. News+ will allow users to get access to digital magazines as well as special access to Wall Street Journal and LA Times newspapers among others. On the surface this looks like a game changer but this is an old model, it’s not unique and for $10 a month it’s not worth it. I came to this conclusion after starting the trial right after it was announced but cancelling it a few days later after realizing what it is.
Let’s start with the newspapers first. The big hype was exclusive partnerships with the Wall Street Journal and LA Times, both papers for $10 a month! That was the primary reason I was looking forward to it. With the prospects of other big newspapers joining ranks this is something I would pay for. However, it’s not what I expected. What Apple glazed over was the real fact is you are not getting access to the daily newspaper publications. Instead you are getting access to stories that are behind each newspapers paywalls. This is significantly different.
Getting paid stories that are curated and selected for the News+ service is not what I want or wish to pay for. The stories from my trial experience are the same news story concepts only written by each paper’s journalists. So what? From a news content I can get the news of the day from any other source, there’s nothing unique enough from one source or another and I really don’t care at all who wrote a piece. I like to read from multiple sources and conclude on my own. If you were like me and expecting the full issues of those newspapers, we were wrong. Not worth it from that aspect.
The second part is the magazines. On the surface and if you are unaware of the alternatives you might think this is a fantastic deal. All those magazines for $10 a month. The ridiculous cost stat they liked to throw out there is that everything will cost you $8,000 or more to get them all each month for a year is misleading. I can tell you that I have been getting the same magazines in digital form on my iPad, iPhone and PC for years… legally…. and for FREE.
I get them through my public library. Hundreds of libraries around the country offer the same services. All you need is a library card from the participating library and login. The service is through RBDigital (it used to be Zinio but they switched at my library). Apple’s deal is not special, it’s not unique and it’s not at the lowest price that you can get. The selections between the two are almost identical as you can see in the two screenshots below. It’s not a 100% 1 for 1 but the gaps don’t justify paying for them. Note – The screenshots are not the entire catalog. Time, Oprah’s magazine, National Geographic, US, Star and all the other big name ones were in both.
The other major aspect of the magazines is you are getting the newsstand versions. This means you are getting a mgazine stuffed with every single advertisement page, which is some magazines is more than the actual issue content. How do you think the price is so low, it’s covered from the advertising dollars. Again, nothing special from Apple’s offering. The paid subscription doesn’t get you ad-free magazine content, not even close.
Overall it’s not special, not new, not unique and not worth $10 a month. I recommend that you avoid Apple News+, you aren’t missing out on anything you can’t get elsewhere if you look.
End of line.
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently with Magenic providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure everyday.