Editors' Note: Updated at 6:52 p.m. ET with additional information about signing up for Apple News+.
Apple is expanding its news app to include magazines, as part of the company's push to expand its services business.
The new offering, Apple News+, is a $9.99 monthly subscription actually built into the existing News app found in iOS and macOS that provides curated and recommended articles based on your personalized interests. News+ adds access to more than 300 magazines, which will be presented in a way that's designed specifically for your Apple device.
During Apple's Show Time event today (March 25), Apple demonstrated features like live magazine covers that feature dynamic graphics. Articles are also optimized for whatever device you're reading on, whether it's an iPhone, iPad or Mac. (Apple specifically demoed News+ on an iPhone, a break from Apple's previous efforts to promote digital magazines, which had largely been focused on the iPad.) Look for an emphasis on photography and typography to make the most of the displays on Apple devices.
Apple is promising a wide variety of magazines for News+ that cover a variety of subjects and interests. Big magazine publishers such as Hearst, Conde Nast and Meredith are all linked with the project. Among the magazines included in News+ are:
- Sports Illustrated
- Rolling Stone
- National Geographic
- Popular Science
- Food & Wine
- The Atlantic
In addition, News+ will include newspapers like the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal. Canadian subscribers will have access to the Toronto Star.
In previewing News+, Apple emphasized its privacy features. Apple isn't aware of what you're reading, and there's no tracking shared with advertisers. Story recommendations occur locally on your device.
The service costs $9.99 a month, with the first month free. Apple is touting the value of its magazine bundle, contending that subscriptions to every publication featured in News+ would run you $8,000. You'll be able to use Apple's Family Sharing service to share a News+ subscription among multiple people in your household.
We have some questions about the service: Will the magazines feature entire issues or just select articles? Apple says that News+ subscribers will have access to current and past issues as well as individual articles, but it's unclear if that access will go for every publication or vary from title to title. For instance, CNN's Brian Stelter reports that the Wall Street Journal is offering a "curated collection of general interest news" through News+, but if you want the paper's business reporting, you'll need a separate WSJ subscription. It will be interesting to see if other News+ participants make similar distinctions as to what's available where.
News+ is now available in the U.S. and Canada as part of the iOS 12.2 update. (The Canadian version of News+ will be available in both English and French.) Look for News+ to reach the U.K. and Australia later this year.
How to Sign Up for News+
Assuming you're in the U.S. or Canada and you've upgraded to iOS 12.2, signing up for News+ is very easy — especially since you don't have to pay anything for the first month. (Just use iOS's Reminders to remind yourself to revisit your subscription before your 30 days are up.) Here's how to get started.
1. Launch Apple News and click the News+ tab on the bottom of the screen.
2. You can scroll through News+'s portfolio of publications at the top of the screen. If you like what you see, scroll down and click the red button. A subsequent screen will prompt you to confirm your subscription.
3. Click Confirm again and enter your Apple Tunes ID password when prompted.
You're now free to browse through Apple News+, and personalize the publications available to you.
Stay tuned for our hands-on impressions of News+ after we have a chance to try out the service.
Be sure to check out our Apple Show Time hub page for a look at everything Apple announced at its March 25 event.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.