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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

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Thoughts on Apple’s March 2019 Media Event

I’m writing this for posterity’s sake. For my own recollection. So please feel free to skip the reading of this post.

  • Apple News+ : Given that Apple News is serving enormous amounts of traffic I have little doubt that News+ will be a big enough hit to boost Apple’s Services revenue. I doubt it will be for me personally.
  • Apple TV+ : I’m eager to see what the pricing for this will be. TV is still a mess. Eliza and I would love to get rid of cable altogether and just get our shows via streaming online but it still isn’t easy (or affordable) to do that. I still think we’re many iterations away from TV no longer being a mess. I was also sort of hoping that this service from Apple would allow me to cancel Netflix but it appears I would need this in addition to it and I simply can’t afford to pay for more subscription services. I’ll give them a few years to iron out the details.
  • Apple Arcade : This looks great for gamers. I’m not one but I can imagine households with adults and children who are would love this. Unlike John Gruber, I think Google’s Stadia is a far more momentous offering. Yes, you need good Internet. But Google’s entire business model is built around people having good Internet. So I’d say Stadia is in line with their worldview. I also hope this works out financially well for the game developers that want to create amazing game experiences without ads and in-app purchases.
  • Apple Card : By far the thing I’m looking forward to most from their announcements. That is, until I saw the interest rates. I think this new card service is definitely superior to nearly every other card. But if they can’t offer much better interest rates I wonder if it will be a nonstarter for many. I’ll wait for the official launch.
  • Oprah : Who doesn’t like Oprah?

I can’t imagine the amount of money or resources Apple has invested to get to the point where they were able to announce all of those services in a single day.

RSS is not dead. Subscribing is alive.

Sinclair Target, writing for Motherboard:

Today, RSS is not dead. But neither is it anywhere near as popular as it once was.

This isn’t the first nor the last article to cover the creation of the RSS standard, its rise to relative popularity with Google Reader, and its subsequent fall from popularity.

But the big point that many of these articles dismiss lightly or directly omit is that RSS is still used as the underpinnings of so many widely popular services today. Apple News, Google News, Flipboard (each with likely tens of millions of users or more) and many others use RSS it is just that people do not know it.

We should likely stop talking about RSS. We need to simply start calling RSS “Subscribing”. “Subscribe to my blog” is the only thing we need to say.

Also, tools like Inoreader, Feedly, etc. should create far better ways to surface content for readers from their active subscriptions. When people subscribe to more than just a few sites it quickly can be overwhelming to people that don’t like to wake up to “inboxes” with 300 unread count. People just abandon those. It is why Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. all use algorithms to select which content people should see when they open the app. I’m weird. I want to see everything in reverse chronological order. But “most people” want to see something interesting for the few moments they devote to reading their subscriptions.

RSS will never be as popular as Facebook. Let’s all get over it. But please do subscribe to my site. 🙂

Their own technology

Garrett Sloane for AdAge:

Apple News will let top media partners use their own technology to fill the ad space in their content, becoming more of an extension of the publishers’ own websites than the walled-off island it is now, the people said.

At first I thought those that were linking to this have this wrong. But, the way it is written it appears that Apple is going to allow publishers to embed their own ad technology within their content to allow them to sell their ads within content that appears in the Apple News app.

I cannot believe Apple would allow this. This is a leak, of course, so the details are thin. But I can see it only going a few ways.

In one scenario, the leak is wrong (or poorly written) and Apple will allow publishers to use their own technology (meaning Apple’s) to sell ads. So, they can use Apple’s own ad platform to sell the ad inventory found within their own content within the app. This totally makes sense.

In another scenario, the leak is somewhat right in that Apple will allow publishers to use their own technology (meaning the publisher’s) to sell ads but with a ton of restrictions. This wouldn’t be ideal but I’m sure publishers would appreciate having a lot more control. Apple has stated multiple times how they are committed to privacy so they cannot allow the same tracking scripts in use on today’s web within their app. And, I can’t imagine they’d want to rely on outside dependencies – like the myriad of ad platform infrastructures – that could diminish the responsiveness of their app.

In the last scenario, the leak is 100% correct and Apple News will become a cesspool.

Since I use Apple News every single day, multiple times per day, I hope it is the first scenario.

/via Daring Fireball.