RSS has been my news collection and curation tool since the beginning. Throughout time, RSS as a technology has been pretty stable and it was the job of the reader applications to bring features to the curation. At it’s core, you add feeds to a list and then those feeds are checked on a schedule, and this allows you to view many different sources of information from a single entry point. As time went on, we got better tools to help shape the way we were consuming the information from a rapidly growing set of data. For the most part, RSS works very well, but it does have some downsides. The biggest one is simply the shear volume of information that is available and having to parse through it all. I have filters and rules to aid in not viewing duplicates from multiple sources, but too often I still ended up with the Inbox “1000+” problem. This would often result in a click of the “Mark All As Read” button. At that point why even bother with it at all?
I looked at alternate means of staying informed when it came to the topics that interest me. I tried Nuzzle as a single source, but found it to be too hit or miss. I looked at Flipboard, but found the interface and navigation not to my liking.
Finally I looked at Apple News which was recently launched with iOS 9. Apple News caught a lot of flak when launched as not being that good. Truthfully, when I first looked at it, I didn’t really find it appealing. Then I realized the problem. People were opening the app, finding that it wasn’t showing them the exact news they wanted, closing it, and saying it sucked. However, Apple News is just like every other news app in that it doesn’t read your mind. I sat down and spent about 30 minutes getting the feeds added that I enjoy most and looking through the “Explore” section to add things I may not have known about. After doing this small amount of work to get it customized to my liking, I found Apple News to be a really great interface for keeping up with stuff that interests me.
Apple News is currently only on iOS, so there is no way to view items on your Mac. At first I immediately marked that as a con, but it has turned out to not affect me, personally. Outside of work, my primary computer is my iPad Pro, so it makes sense for me.
It definitely seems that for some reason if an application comes preinstalled on a device, it is somehow held to a higher standard and should be exactly perfect for your exact needs out of the box. If you download an RSS reader app and don’t add feeds, it isn’t very useful either. Of course, Apple News is not the end all be all News consumption app for everyone, but, what is?
If you were curious about how Apple News might work for you, take a couple minutes to get it setup with your likes and see how it works out!