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Apple News is testing a game that kind of looks like NYT Connections

Apple News is testing a new game for iOS 17.5 called Quartiles, which requires players to organize a grid of 20 syllables into 5 four-syllable words. Spotted by Gadget Hacks, the interface for Quartiles looks a lot like the New York Times’ newest hit, Connections. Did Apple News sherlock the New York Times?

Okay, Quartiles isn’t exactly like Connections, where you organize 16 words into four cohesive categories of four. It’s maybe closer to something like Boggle, since you’re being tested on your ability to put words together from their components. But there is something about finding groups of four that we seem to find really alluring these days — Connections is now the Times’ second most popular game, after Wordle.

Last year, Apple added crossword puzzles and mini crossword puzzles for Apple News+ subscribers. While it may appear odd for a news aggregator to continue investing in games, that’s exactly what has been working for the New York Times. When the paper bought the game Wordle in 2022 for an undisclosed seven-figure sum, the purchase brought in “tens of millions” of new users in just one quarter. Over the last few months, the Times’ data shows that users have spent more time playing its games than reading the news.

Apple is just beta testing Quartiles, which doesn’t mean it’s definitely going to appear in iOS 17.5. But given that the New York Times is low-key running a gaming studio now, it’s not a bad idea for Apple to churn out some new, preferably square-shaped games.

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