Are Apple scheduled summaries the new newsletter?

By Jodie Hopperton


Los Angeles, California, United States


Coming off the back of our mobile-first news sites master class, I am not only becoming more aware of great mobile design, I am seeking it out. And Apple has created something pretty smart. 

First let me set the context. As we know, alerts serve as a huge traffic driver. In fact, it’s the most important driver from external sources for subscribers as shown by the Chartbeat data below.

Chartbeat data shows alerts are the key driver of subscribers from external sources.
Chartbeat data shows alerts are the key driver of subscribers from external sources.

This makes sense and we know alerts drive traffic. Therefore we think carefully about the content and timing, likely in the same way we do newsletters, another traffic driver. But so far we have had little control over design.

So I was surprised to see this innovative design on a news alert on my husband's iPhone. It was the first time I was seeing this particular set of — visually pleasing — alerts from Apple News. Naturally I signed up, too. 

In the images below, I have contrasted the two types of news alerts. The standard alerts, on the left, have a simple logo to the left and a text on the right, with headline in bold. 

On the right you, will see examples of the evening summary, the evening summary on a lock screen, and the morning summary. It showcases up to three brands and two stories with the total number of articles quietly residing in the top right corner.

Examples of Apple summaries.
Examples of Apple summaries.

This is, of course, Apple led. But it’s consumer driven and the set up is pretty easy (see below). Although I don’t know the take up of this function, it seems safe to assume it would gain more prominence if users do indeed create a habit from them.  

The Apple summary set-up is user-friendly.
The Apple summary set-up is user-friendly.

What does it mean for us?

A pessimist may argue we’re losing control over alerts. An optimist may argue the design is better and a consumer can truly decide, which means we have more incentive to make it work for them. 

I’ll leave you to try it out and decide which side of the aisle you fall on.

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About Jodie Hopperton

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