Hands on: Apple's 'Netflix of Magazines' Texture provides a wealth of content to readers

Posted:
in iPad edited March 13
Texture allows access to dozens of magazines for a monthly price of $9.99 -- and it is now in Apple's hands.




Apple announced on Monday the purchase of the digital magazine venue Texture. Simply, the Texture app, which offers a free 7-day trial, gives you instant access to both new, and legacy issues of some of the most popular publications.

When you first join, you are prompted to choose some of your favorites publications. My faved included the likes of Wired, Variety, and Bon Appetit. There is such a large list of options, there will surely be something for everyone.

Highlights

After signing up, you will be taken to what amounts to the home screen of the app, known as Highlights. This includes "new and noteworthy" stories, top reads, themed collections, and more from all across their content pool. It is a pretty great way to find interesting editorials and long-form articles from publications you may not read regularly.




We found interviews from actors I'm a fan of, recipe to try, and some workout tips all from magazines we'd never tried before. It felt a little bit like Apple's News app as it stands, even before an Apple-directed redesign that may or may not materialize, and right now is a great resource for finding great content.

Digital pile of shame

The second tab, My Library, is where you will find your favorite magazines, your saved stories, and magazines you've downloaded for offline reading. When viewing your favorite magazines, you see the cover of the latest issue. You can tap in and start reading right away, or you can tap the title to view back-issues.




Saved stories allows users to create different collections, almost like a Pinterest board, for stuff you'd like to save.




Besides just content curation, retention of content and user engagement with it in the future, is likely one of the reasons Apple bought the publication.

Reading

Texture would fail at being a digital magazine app if it didn't excel at the reading experience.

Navigation is easy, with the actual magazine taking up the largest portion of your display, and only an ellipsis in the bottom left corner to bring up the controls. Individual pages/images can be zoomed in on with an outward pinch, something you clearly can't do in the print edition.



When you bring up the controls, you have a back button in the top left corner and index, save, and the share sheet in the top right. Along the bottom is a slider to quickly jump to different pages in the magazine, as well as a mini table of contents.




Navigation works well when it works, but it doesn't seem to be the same between publications. As an example, in Adweek, you only have "Cover", "Contents", and "In This Issue" to choose from. Which means that the majority of the issue is up to you to peruse. However All About Beer has a bunch of categories like "Contents", "Features", "Taste", and more. This makes it a whole lot easier to find your way through the magazine.

Apple has guidelines for publishers in Apple News, and content providers must comply. It will be interesting to see if Texture becoming an Apple property alters the navigation chaos at all between magazines.

Texture and Apple News

While we like reading current magazines, we find it hard to keep up and like we said, a "pile of shame" can build. Because of the physicality of the magazine itself, whenever we do have time to read them, we don't generally have the issue we want. Texture is a surprisingly great way to alleviate that issue, and the highlights feature really does a good job at providing a steady feed of new and interesting content.

Related, we also enjoy the Apple News app, and we are both consumers of content, and publishers. As such, we read it multiple times a day. So, what moves Apple makes in regards to Texture and Apple News, as very lightly touched upon by Apple's Eddy Cue, will be interesting to watch develop. The fact they are continuing the Texture service after purchase and not shuttering it like many others could speak to their long-term plans.

The Texture app, available for iPhone and iPad as well as Android devices, is a free download. A $9.99 per month tier gives a choice from over 200 monthly titles, with a $14.99 giving you the monthly titles, plus some weekly ones.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    frenchcamp49erfrenchcamp49er Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    So no Nest, no Ring but a magazine app?
  • Reply 2 of 26
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 868member
    Wait so it is a landscape only app?
    It really annoys me when Magazine apps only do Landscape layouts. The iPad and magazines are both portrait.
  • Reply 3 of 26
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,110administrator
    mattinoz said:
    Wait so it is a landscape only app?
    It really annoys me when Magazine apps only do Landscape layouts. The iPad and magazines are both portrait.
    It is not landscape only.
    Rayz2016
  • Reply 4 of 26
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 5,090member
    So no Nest, no Ring but a magazine app?
    Apple hasn’t been in the business of home security hardware, no. But it has been in the business of news aggregating and distribution, yes. Magazines in particular. 

    You can’t rationally fault a company for having different interests than yours. 
    edited March 12 tmayRayz2016lolliver
  • Reply 5 of 26
    kkqd1337kkqd1337 Posts: 145member
    It's good to see a company having enough confidence to invest in the magazine industry and journalism. 
    fotoformat
  • Reply 6 of 26
    FolioFolio Posts: 337member
    Quick thoughts:

    Glad to hear it includes "legacy" issues, not just latest editions. That way it becomes more of a brain trust, and also you needn't fret about keeping up.

    Single stroke burnishes Apple ecosystem: a refuge against fake news and click bait. (though I do see Consumer Reports is one of titles. Haha)

    One news story said KKR private equity firm invested $50 million into the app, along with owners Conde Nast, etc. If Apple can get subscribers even half the numbers of Apple Music that'll be good for all involved, and help quality publishing.

    If you can't strip out some ads or find info much faster than thumbing through hundreds of Table of Contents, then I may wait until Apple and Siri improve the navigation. 

    Perfect match with intelligent affluent device holders. Many ways Apple can enrich: Siri, audible, promos. Video AR

    Perhaps free three-month trial with purchase of iPad in the works? That might even entice more Android boys and girls into the fold.


    fotoformat
  • Reply 7 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,927member
    So no Nest, no Ring but a magazine app?
    Yes, that’s right: a magazine service

    It gets my vote over a thermostat. 
    baconstang
  • Reply 8 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,927member
    Intriguing collection of magazines, which Apple can use as a launchpad for an improved Siri:

    ”Hey Siri, get me the latest copies of Beer and Garden & Gun.”

    ”Certainly, and just so you know, I’m putting local law enforcement on standby.”



    robin huber
  • Reply 9 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,927member
    “Garden & Gun”

    Intriguing…


  • Reply 10 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,927member
    “The Magazine celebrating the Southern States”

    Well of course it does. 
  • Reply 11 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,927member
    In this month’s issue we have an interview with a shooting champion, chats with country music stars, a tour of the Beretta gun factory, and a recipe for making biscuits from bacon fat. 

    An old creative writing tutor once told me that stereotypes exist because they’re often true. Ironically, he told me this while wearing a black fedora … indoors. 
  • Reply 12 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,927member
    And an interview with Chadwick Boseman, who hails from South Carolina. I did not know that. 

    Mrs Rayz2016 is a huge fan: “Why can’t you look like that?”

    ”Because I’m twice his age and I like cake.”
    edited March 13
  • Reply 13 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,927member
    Heh. 

    And a magazine that’s just called … Wood.




    fnar fnar


    edited March 13
  • Reply 14 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,927member
    kkqd1337 said:
    It's good to see a company having enough confidence to invest in the magazine industry and journalism. 
    Exactly. 

    We’ve fallen out of the habit of paying for quality, and look what happened: quality went out the window. 

    What did we expect?
    robin huber
  • Reply 15 of 26
    I wonder if it includes American Cinematographer.
  • Reply 16 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,927member
    Texture would fail at being a digital magazine app if it didn't excel at the reading experience. After spending some time reading, I'm confident it does just that. 

    When I first read this, I thought the writer was telling me that Texture had failed at being a digital magazine app and/or it didn’t excel at the writing experience. 🤔

  • Reply 17 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,927member
    I wonder if it includes American Cinematographer.
    https://www.texture.com/all-titles/

    No, by the looks of it. 

    Foliobestkeptsecret
  • Reply 18 of 26
    How many of the magazines featured in Texture have websites you could just go to instead, I wonder? Or have a rival entity that does allow access to content without having to pay a fee?
  • Reply 19 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,896member
    I subscribed to Texture for a couple of months but there's only a very few periodicals I have a regular interest in reading cover to cover. Two of the three (Wired and Popular Science) are included while two (Discover and Aperture) are not. Otherwise the other content there is generally covered by my regular news browsing and very often by a free online website to that same magazine. I didn't find enough value in it myself. 

    One nice side benefit for Apple will be another access data-point on non-Apple users such as those using Windows and Android. Apple News only covers Apple users. This is a smart and relatively cheap Apple purchase. 
    edited March 13 Folio
  • Reply 20 of 26
    kkqd1337 said:
    It's good to see a company having enough confidence to invest in the magazine industry and journalism. 
    This would be their third attempt. 
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