Whether you are standing in the queue at Starbucks with your iPhone or relaxing on the sofa at home with your iPad, it is useful to be able to quickly check the news to see what is currently making the headlines. There is a large number of news apps for iOS devices and some are general and cover pretty much everything, but others are specific to an area such as sport, celebs and show business, technology or science. On test are six popular news apps, each covering a slightly different subject area. With these you'll be the first to know when a story breaks.
The BBC is famous for providing high-quality news, and that tradition continues with this free app.
By default, the first four sections – Top Stories, UK, World and Sport – are given greater prominence, with the most recent three headlines visible in photo thumbnail format. You can either tap one to access the same story as found on the BBC News website, or swipe with the finger to reveal more news stories. Other sections require an additional tap before they reveal their contents, although the Edit button enables you to choose exactly which sections get greater prominence.
UK users should also be able to watch the BBC News Channel by clicking the Live button at the top of the screen.
The app is easy to use, but you’re limited in terms of content. It’s more suited for a quick check of the latest headlines than in-depth analysis.
This weekly magazine can be read on your iPhone or iPad almost as soon as the paper edition hits the newsstands.
Front covers are displayed in cover flow view, and are browsed by swiping left and right. Tapping an issue downloads it, and you can then read it offline, which is handy. Half a dozen articles are free each week, but you can also purchase complete issues and subscriptions.
The text menus make navigating the content easy, but it’s visually dull and some articles are text-heavy, with just one or two images. However, the quality of the news analysis is first class, and it covers both UK and world politics, business, finance, science and technology. All the articles are also available in audio form, so you can listen
to them on the go.
A simple no-frills app that delivers high quality news analysis.
Engadget’s app focuses on gadgets and consumer technology news. This includes mobile phones, gaming and computer accessories such as mice and other controllers, headphones and speakers, tablets and more. There are lots of news stories, photos and videos on a wide range of highly desirable gadgets and hardware.
The interface is flexible and there are four sections with different content, such as HD for high-definition video and TV, and Alt for weird, geeky stuff. There are two different views of the home screen showing news items, a collection of video reviews, a gallery of all the photos available and more.
It’s not as Apple-focused as some – did someone say ‘Macworld Express’? – but this app keeps you abreast of the latest gadget developments.
Whether you like this app will probably depend on which sport you follow, but it does its best to cover a wide range: football, tennis, cricket, Formula One and many more. The home page looks good, with photos, headlines and extracts from recent and upcoming events. Colourful photos, headlines and intros are used in the stories too.
An interesting option is the ability to comment on stories and read comments from others, making it somewhat interactive. Another great feature is the live section, where you get constant updates of sporting events. It can alert you when events are about to start so you don’t miss them, and there’s a search facility on the home page. Although available on all iOS devices, it looks best on the iPad.
This not only covers lots of sporting events, but also has some features not found in other apps.
Keep up with the latest celebrity news and gossip with the MTV News app. The content covers whatever’s popular on TV, in the cinema and the music charts, so right now it has stories on The X Factor, The Twilight Saga, Rihanna, and much more.
The home page has thumbnail photos, headlines and the first sentence from each news story, although the small, black-on-red writing is difficult to read on the iPhone. Tap an item and the subsequent page is simple, attractive and easy to read, though: there’s a large photo and headline at the top, and a Share button to add it to Facebook and Twitter.
This app has great photos of celebrities and news stories revealing their exploits. If Heat had an app, it would be like this.
The Telegraph is one of the UK’s best-selling papers, and is now available to download on to your iOS device. The iPhone app provides the top news stories from each section of the paper for free, but single issues or a subscription must be purchased with the iPad app. This app is, however, bigger, and more like the print paper.
On the iPhone you get the latest stories and you can choose what content to have on the home page. There’s also a simple menu to access all sections; selecting an article shows a headline, large photo and body text. The font size is adjustable and you can share items on Facebook, Twitter and email.
You don’t get the full issue with the free iPhone app, but there’s enough to keep you occupied while you drink a cup of coffee.
As you might expect from a TV broadcaster, there is a lot of video content in this news app. There are both video and audio summaries of the latest headlines, showbiz and weather reports that last from one to four minutes. The Sky News channel is also streamed live and can be viewed with a 3G or Wi-Fi connection.
There’s also a standard news section where you can read all the latest stories in UK news, sport, politics, business and more, and it contains even more video clips.
One important point that you should note is that only the iPhone app is free for everyone. If you aren’t a Sky customer, you’ll have to pay £4.99 per month for the privilege of using the iPad app.
Being able to watch high-quality live television anywhere, any time is very impressive.
Bloomberg offers an immense amount of global financial news, and the headlines on the front page are very rarely more than a day old. You can also create custom stock portfolios and search for information on stocks, bonds, mutual funds, the latest trends and much more. The interface is primarily white type on a black background, with news stories that often include photos. You can also download and listen to Bloomberg podcasts from within the app.
If you’re a fan of the Discovery channel, you’ll love this app. Updated daily, it provides up-to-date scientific news. The home page simply lists the latest stories, but for those who are interested in a specific area such as archaeology or space, the app offers different categories so you can easily find what you want. There’s even a section that’s packed with video stories, although your ability to access this will depend on your Wi-Fi signal. When we could view these we found them interesting and informative.