NYT Now (iPhone only) recently dropped its subscription so I gave it another try. It has quickly become my favorite news app and has replaced Circa on my home screen. Now's design meshes with how I want to read news on my phone. There is a curated list of the day's top stories written specifically for mobile devices, daily briefs, and notifications for breaking news that don't overwhelm me.
I like Circa's ability to follow a story and receive notifications on updates. It also attempted to distill complex stories down to bite-size chunks, which had mixed results for me. I prefer Now's mix of briefs and longer stories, but do miss Circa's ability to follow stories.
NYT Now launched last year with a freemium model, but has now been made completely free and is supported by ads and sponsorships. The ads don't get in the way, and hopefully they can find a sustainable business model with sponsorships. I'm skeptical that the ads alone will be enough because they appear to be simple display ads which carry low CPMs. Circa is reportedly seeking a buyer after failing to raise a new round of funding, which also prompted me to find another news app to live on my home screen. Somebody needs to figure out a business model to deliver breaking news to mobile devices while supporting an editorial staff and journalists.