AWT News Update: November 7, 2016

The Apple News app

The Apple News app

This week's sponsor of Apple World Today and the AWT News Update is 4K Video Downloader for Mac. Find out more about this great app and get a 50% discount off regular price for a limited time by clicking this link. What's in the news today?

  • Apple News is finally taking off for publishers, but there are still problems with monetization
  • iOS 10.2 Beta 2 appears, bringing with it the TV app, an SOS feature, and more
  • Apple's charging the credit cards of people who made early orders for the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
  • Gmail for iOS gets a much-needed update and a feature -- undo send -- that should be used by politicians

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below.  

Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for November 7, 2016.

Our sponsor this week is 4K Video Downloader for Mac. Grab video from YouTube, Vimeo and other sources automatically for offline viewing at your leisure. For a limited time, 4K Video Downloader for Mac is available at half-off, just $9.95. [Check out the link in the show notes for details.]

Apple News has been around for a little over a year now, and it's finally starting to have an impact on publishers. A report by Ricardo Bilton at Neiman Labs shows that the release of iOS 10 and the revised version of News caused a huge leap in readership for many content providers. For example, CNN saw 5 million unique readers of its Apple News content in August; in September, that jumped to 36.5 million unique readers. Here at Apple World Today we've seen a steady increase in readership of our content on Apple News, although we're a long way from CNN's numbers. But one of the biggest issues is monetization of the platform, which is probably why readers don't see many ads in Apple News content. We've found it almost impossible to include banners in our News feed, due to some issues that the News support team won't fix or won't talk to us about. Perhaps today's news that Comcast's NBCUniversal will be selling ad content on Apple News will finally break that logjam for publishers.

Apple today released iOS 10.2 Beta 2 to developers, and there are some nice new features baked into it. First is the TV app that was highlighted during the recent Mac event -- odd that it's not available for macOS, isn't it? Anyway, that feature is a TV guide that lets viewers discover new content and choose what they want to watch. Next there's an SOS feature similar to the one that has been on the Apple Watch since watchOS 3 appeared. It allows you to send an emergency message to contacts and responders by pushing the power button on the iPhone five times. Apple also made some cosmetic changes to the Music app, making the Shuffle and Repeat buttons a bit more prominent.

If you were one of the first people to order the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, it's time to get excited. Apple has started charging credit cards for the first round of orders, and it's expected that some customers will get their new devices by November 11.

Google today rolled out an all-new iOS Gmail app that provides an all new design and improved speed. For example, some users are finding that searches in Gmail are much faster -- AppleInsider reported that a multi-term search in a 55,000 email archive returned results instantly, while an older version of the app took up to 11 seconds to complete. There's a new five-second "undo send" implementation in case you suddenly decide that you don't want to send a message, spelling suggestions have been added, and swiping on an email archives or deletes it. The app, of course, is free.

That’s all for today; We’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.