Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Apple’s new Sports app offers interesting scores, stats and warnings – The Washington Post

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Major League Baseball starts in about a month. The same goes for March Madness. And Apple wants to prepare for it.

On Wednesday, the company unveiled a new Sports app aimed at helping fans get quick and frequent updates of scores, team stats, game details and even betting odds from DraftKings. (These odds, for what they’re worth, can be turned off.)

The app, free and ad-free, is available to iPhone owners in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.

Apple’s latest software release is an indicator of the growing importance of sports to the company’s lucrative services business. The iPhone maker is entering the second year of a 10-year deal to stream Major League Soccer games on Apple TV Plus and has rights to stream some MLB games. In the past, he has explored the possibility of acquiring the broadcast rights to the NFL’s Sunday Ticket package.

As usual for Apple, its new Sports application integrates perfectly with its other services. Once you’ve selected which teams and leagues to follow, you’ll start seeing relevant updates in the Sports section of Apple’s News app. And if Apple — or a streaming app you’ve connected to the Apple TV app — has rights to stream a game you’re following, you’ll be able to quickly click on the live stream from the Sports app.

Apple said some leagues – like the WNBA, NCAA football and NFL – would be available to follow in the app at the start of their respective seasons.

A quick, free tool for up-to-the-minute scores could be useful to people tired of existing options, but Apple’s first attempt at this type of app for sports fans comes with some curious caveats.

In its current form, Apple’s Sports app doesn’t generate notifications or live activity, those persistent notifications that appear on iPhone lock screens to offer instant updates. You also don’t have the option of placing an Apple Sports widget on an iPhone’s home screen to help you passively follow changes in a game.

Apple says it will continue to release new features and functionality. But these decisions are confusing because they (for now) essentially require you to open the app every time you want updates.

Perhaps this is exactly the experience Apple wants you to have: one where you have to actively choose when to interact with this information. But it’s also possible that time pressure played a role in these decisions: Apple released the Sports app on the same day the 2024 MLS season began, which the company will stream exclusively. Apple declined to comment on the matter.

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