The third BETA seed of iOS 9 adds the News app… if you are in USA. But there’s a trick how you can get it too. And Cocoanetics is there as well.
We have been lusting after new seed drops for a few days now. The normal drop period has been about 2 weeks in the past. Even Eddie Cue had tweeted on July 1st: “new iOS 9 beta coming early next week”. Now it is debatable as to how “early” in the week Wednesday actually is, but the third seeds now finally dropped.
If you don’t want to wait for the OTA versions to appear, you can always download the OS images directly from the developer site. All have a third seed available as of today.
Note the fact that the Xcode downloads URL is plural while all the others are singular.
iOS and OS X are the two of this list who support OTA updates, provided you wait out the spreading of the software to your CDN. I didn’t want to wait and so I installed the iOS seed via iTunes, Alt+Click on Check for Updates and then selected the unpacked ipsw.
For watchOS you always have to install the offered profile via the Watch app on iPhone onto the Watch. Then you have to check for updates and it fines the need seed.
To the News
A while a go – as soon as Apple started to receive submissions via Apple News Publisher – I submitted my request for Cocoanetics to be included. They offer two ways to add content: 1) via RSS feed (which my WordPress blog offers) and 2) via Apple News Format.
“Coming Soon: Apple News Format
We’re working on bringing you a brand new format you can use to create signature content for News. Click Next and sign up, and we’ll let you know when Apple News Format is available.
In the meantime, you can add your RSS feeds to News”
So I picked RSS on June 17th. 20 days later – 1 day before the seed that would actually contain the News.app – I received the good news:
Apple seems to be hesitant to let you in on the party. You need to change your device region to USA and reboot, so that the News.app icon will show up. If you search for “Cocoanetics” you find my channel right away. You can also go there via this URL (only works on iOS) https://news.apple.com/T99UfKCfBQm6kXRq3W_Nx9g
By tapping on the plus button you add it to your favorites. It displays the most recent inline image as thumbnail. This might be because I have not yet selected a channel logo.
The overview reminds you of any odd RSS reader. The excerpt seems to be more or less auto-generated, it does not seem to strictly fit with where I put the “MORE” tag in articles. Articles that have inline images show the first one as thumbnail. You can see that only the third has an image. I guess I have to begin to add more images to my articles, so that you have something to look at there for all articles.
The reading experience is also very pleasant, News picks a nice font and comfortable style for the formatting of my content. However I do have one gripe: source code is too large compared to regular body text and also gets truncated. If Apple wants to cater for developers – who often read blogs with embedded source code – then there needs to be a better way to format PRE formatted text.
In any case, I am happy to be included in the content directory. Those minor problems can be tweaked easily. If there’s no change then we would have to format our source code samples to 29 columns. Which might pose a big of a problem, as I learned when having to format the sample code for my book to 73 columns. Next to impossible with Objective-C, Swift might be easier there.
A nifty feature happens without my doing: Apple is automatically tagging articles. The tags for the most recent articles are as follows:
- Open Source
- Mobile App
- Computer Science
- Core Image
- San Francisco
- Apple Store
- Computer Hardware
You can tap on any of these to find more articles fitting the same topic.
Oh, and one more thing… each article has a “Read Original Story – www.cocoanetics.com” button at the bottom. If you tap that you get a web view with the original article URL. Now where did we see that before…
Personally, I don’t believe in only showing crippled articles in my RSS feed, so you get the same content. But I suspect that this button will become abused by content providers who only publish article excerpts and then want to get the traffic to their sits so that they can show ads.
Apple News is off to a great start, we are curious when the app will be rolled out internationally and when we get to see the Apple News Format.