Apple Co-Hosting Tonight’s Democratic Debate and Soliciting Questions Via Apple News

Apple Co-Hosting Tonight's Democratic Debate and Soliciting Questions Via Apple News thumbnail

Democratic candidates on stage in Iowa on January 14 for a debate hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register
Photo: Getty Images

Apple is co-hosting tonight’s Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire and even soliciting questions from the public through Apple News. It’s the first time that Apple has hosted a debate, joining the ranks of previous co-hosts like Facebook in an effort to become established as a serious player in the digital news space.

While Apple has partnered with ABC News for the debate, the tech company won’t be sending anyone to ask questions of the candidates directly. Questions submitted via the Apple News app are sent to the ABC News Political Unit, which will filter the questions and send them to the ABC moderators, according to 9to5Mac.

Apple advertised its involvement in the 2020 presidential debate earlier this week with a press release touting its politics coverage from a wide variety of trusted sources on Apple News. The Cupertino-based company also announced that anyone could easily watch the debate on Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad, some Samsung LG smart TVs, as well as Amazon’s Fire TV and the Roku.

Apple’s election coverage doesn’t require a subscription to the Apple News+ app, which is the paid version of the service. Apple has reportedly struggled with getting consumers to pay for Apple News+, which charges $10 per month for access to over 300 magazines and newspaper titles. Subscriptions to major newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post are noticeably absent from the deal.

Seven candidates qualified for tonight’s debate, including Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang. And we can expect this debate to be as testy as ever, given the shitshow in Iowa this week.

Senator Bernie Sanders appeared to win at least 6,000 more votes in the Iowa Caucus, but the entire thing was a complete disaster from a simple logistics point of view and the Associated Press announced last night that it wouldn’t declare a winner because of “irregularities” with the vote totals.

“The Associated Press calls a race when there is a clear indication of a winner. Because of a tight margin between former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders and the irregularities in this year’s caucus process, it is not possible to determine a winner at this point,” Sally Buzbee, AP’s senior vice president and executive editor, told her own news organization on Thursday.

Pete Buttigieg had previously declared he was the winner of the caucus before any results were reported.

“So we don’t know all the results, but we know by the time, it’s all said and done, Iowa you have shocked the nation. Because by all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious,” Buttigieg told his supporters on Monday for some reason.

But Buttigieg’s ethically dubious strategy doesn’t seem to have dramatically altered the latest poll numbers in the Democratic field. Senator Sanders still has a commanding lead in almost every New Hampshire poll, according to FiveThirtyEight.

The question that remains is whether the candidates will go after President Trump tonight more than they go after each other, as people like former vice president Joe Biden struggle to remain relevant.

There are a number of ways to watch the debate tonight, which is scheduled to start at 8:00 pm ET (5:00 pm PT) and will end at 11:00 pm ET (8:00 pm PT). ABC News, cohost of the debate with Apple, has a livestream on YouTube as well as a livestream on Facebook.

And, like Apple announced, anyone with an Apple device can easily watch the debate as well. But Apple notes that users must be updated to iOS 13.3, iPadOS 13.3 or macOS 10.15.2 in order to get all the new Apple News features.

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