Apple’s new Sports app offers scores, stats and interesting caveats


Major League Baseball starts in about a month. So does March Madness. And Apple wants to be ready for it.

On Wednesday, the company unveiled a new Sports app meant to help fans get fast, frequent score updates, team stats, play breakdowns and even betting odds from DraftKings. (Those odds, for what it’s worth, can be turned off.)

The app, which is free and does not include ads, is available for iPhone owners in the United States, the 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 certain MLB games. In the past, it explored the possibility of acquiring the rights to stream the NFL’s Sunday Ticket package.

As usual for Apple, its new Sports app hooks neatly into its other services. Once you select 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 the rights to air a game you’re following, you’ll be able to quickly click into the live stream from the Sports app.

Apple said certain leagues — like the WNBA, NCAA football and the NFL — will be available to follow in the app when their respective seasons begin.

A fast, free tool for up-to-the-minute scores could be helpful for people weary of their existing options, but Apple’s first attempt at this kind of app for sports fans comes with curious caveats.

In its current form, Apple’s Sports app doesn’t generate notifications or Live Activities — those persistent notifications that appear on iPhone lock screens to offer in-the-moment updates. You also don’t have the option to place an Apple Sports widget on an iPhone’s home screen to help you passively keep track of changes in a game.

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

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


Source link

Leave a Comment