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Can Apple's News app revive the news industry?
A newly announced news app for Apple users is inspiring confidence and fear in the news industry. - photo by Chandra Johnson
It sounds like a great idea: The news you're interested in, in one place.

But not everyone is celebrating over Apple's latest foray into the news business with the announcement of its plans to replace its Newsstand app with a flipboard-style, personalized news app (aptly called, "News").

The main difference between the Newsstand app and News is that News won't require users to find individual apps for news outlets and organize them on their own. Rather, the new app will work a bit like a playlist for news users will choose from a potpourri of publications that have opted into the service, which in turn control what and how much branded content appears on the app. The result will be articles tailored to specific users.

The change would put more control into the hands of news publishers, something that was initially questioned when Facebook unveiled its news service, Instant Articles, earlier this year. That service, launched in May, hasn't published a new article in weeks.

But like Instant Articles, critics are wondering if news outlets should be so comfortable with corporations like Apple controlling the means of publication.

"With News, publishers will be better able to reach readers with an app thats native to hundreds of millions of iPhones," Julia Greenberg wrote in Wired. "But theyll have to be comfortable with Apple ultimately controlling the printing press."

Critics also worry that Apple alone stands to gain anything from the new app, since it has little to lose if its play to get people interested in a one-stop news service doesn't pan out as expected.

"In the struggle between curing the patient and selling the treatment, Apple will always defer to selling the treatment," the Washington Post's Philip Bump wrote. "It would rather have it be effective, but it's not super worried if it isn't."

That's a concern, as the Poynter Institute reported, because news aggregation services like News and Instant Articles means news sites risk getting less traffic than if readers went directly to a publication's app or site. But so far, no one has come up with a better idea to help the struggling news industry.

"I dont see the business model yet for sustaining journalism as we know it in the future," San Francisco newspaper analyst Alan Mutter told Poynter. "Partnering with the big digital platforms may be palliative, but it is not a cure for what ails the publishing industry.