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Monday, June 8, 2015

Apple's News and Multitasking Provide a Valuable Mid-life Kicker for iPads

The kickoff keynote session at the 2015 Apple Worldwide Developers' Conference promised a new News app from Apple. Elegantly designed, it initially provides curated content from about 20 publishers including the New York Times, ESPN, Time Inc. and Condé Nast.  Apple is courting new publishers. Clever content curators will become top publishers, threatening the established brands, after all the New York Times is starting with limited content.

Whereas Android is the platform of innovation, iOS is the platform of smoothness. The scrolling is smooth, the look is smooth.  Apple has been losing out, particularly in the education market to Google's Chromebooks. Nevertheless, an iPad can offer incredibly creative experiences for a student, enabling them to create movies, musical experiences and now News. RSS feeds can be added to News, but soon News Publisher on iCloud will enable the new Apple News Format.  

Busy consumers will be able to refine their news feed by selecting from a million topics. News will also work on iPhones and will be available in the fall.  Privacy advocates should like News because Apple won't sell your viewing preferences to other companies or clutter your screen with ads.

A major limitation of iPhones and iPads has been the ability to only see one app at once. You can play background music, it's true.  You can click the home button twice and see your recent apps.  To date you've not been able to see apps side-by-side.  In iOS 9, available this fall, you'll be able to see two apps at once.  This should fuel demand for larger iPads, as the smaller iPads aonly allow you to put the 2nd app at the side of the screen in a narrow window, as if it were on an iPhone. A larger screen enables two apps to each have half of the screen and each can be used fully. Apple also offers the ability to run a window-within-a-window for applications like ESPN sports, where you could watch a game while doing your email, for example.

These two features alone should make iPads highly productive platforms and help stave off competition from cheaper Samsung tablets or colorful Kindles.