Mobile news magazine app Flipboard may be putting on a brave face in the wake of new competition from iOS 9’s forthcoming News app, practically a Flipboard clone. But there’s no doubt that the service needs to continue to innovate as it prepares to go up against a built-in alternative soon to arrive on millions of iPhones. This morning, the company announced one way it plans to differentiate its offering from Apple’s News: it will now enable magazine creators to add more of their own voice to their publications by allowing them to share thoughts and opinions on the news they’re sharing, as well as ask questions, quote text, customize their magazine with links or their own personal photos, and more.
Before today, Flipboard users could build their own magazines by pulling in articles from a variety of sources in order to offer unique collections focused on a topic of interest. But unlike their glossy counterparts, this aggregated digital content sometimes lacked an editorial voice. Now, that can change as creators will be able to add text, links, images, and more to their magazines.
Flipboard suggests the feature could be used to do things like ask questions, converse with readers, request co-contributors, or make notes about changes to the magazine, for example. It also allows magazine builders to quote sentences that struck them, or share their own sentiment and opinions about the articles included, which could help to provide more context to a story.
They can also augment stories with web links or photos from their own Camera Roll, which could turn magazines into even more personal creations.
The change comes at a time when we’re learning that Apple’s own News app will also be driven by human editorial teams who are being tasked with gathering the best in breaking news, including local news, national and global news. News app editors are also said to be focused on pulling in content from a number of sources – not just big publishers, but also original articles from smaller ones too.
So, effectively, the two apps could end up competing not just on aesthetic qualities like layout, presentation and user interface design, but also on how the news they offer is presented and curated. Will people prefer Apple’s editorial selections, or will they gravitate toward Flipboard’s now potentially even more personal magazines?
Flipboard says the new feature is iOS-only at launch, but will arrive on Android soon. The option is available by tapping on a new “compose” icon inside any magazine cover.