Wednesday, May 27, 2009

AP News Version 2.0

AP Mobile News has morphed into AP News 2.0 (Free) and is now available on the AppStore. AP Mobile News was one of the first applications available on the AppStore and has been a stalwart for news delivery on the iPhone. Over the past several months the Mobile News application has started to lag behind, as USA Today launched a colorful application, NYT updated their application, AP's chief competitor, Reuters, released News Pro and WSJ launched an iPhone application giving free access to their paid content. All of these applications offered features not available in AP Mobile News 1.x, things like landscape viewing, customizable front pages, location specific weather, Facebook/Twitter integration. AP News 2.0 offers all of these and more (see list of new features below).
The first time you launch the AP News you select your region, location (for local weather & news), and then you are given the option of configuring your front page with a myriad of options. Moving into the application, there are settings for font size, number of stories for each heading (1-5) and the UI has been cleaned up. One thing I found annoying, stories can be read in landscape mode, yet the front page (entry page) is viewable in portrait mode only, thus when you are reading in landscape and return to the front page to select another article, the screen rotates to vertical requiring you to re-orientate your device. Other than this, I am impressed with version 2.0, presentation is good, content is great, overall... 2.0 is a worthy upgrade.

Things I look for in a News Application:
  • Search.
  • Ability to Save articles.
  • Ability to share articles.
  • Local news stories.
  • Rating and viewing of popular articles.
  • Readability - font customization, landscape viewing.

AP News has all of the above... the things I would like to see in version 2.1:

  • Tilt scroll
  • Options for dark background/light text.
  • Landscape viewing across all screens.
Below is a listing of the new features as listed on the AP blog

AP Mobile v2.0 Features include:

  • Front Page, a simple way for you to choose your news.
  • Choose Your News. Customize the application by switching on and off categories that interest you.
  • Customize the number of stories that are shown on the Front Page.
  • Select your region for region-specific news.
  • Added localization for French and Spanish.
  • Added current weather and five day forecast.
  • You can now choose which local papers show up in your weather tab.
  • Changed application icon.
  • Increased content (Health, Science, Press Releases).
  • Control the size of the font you use to read stories.
  • Read stories vertically or horizontally.
  • Send to AP allows you to send breaking stories directly to AP from your phone.
  • Send stories directly to Twitter and Facebook.
  • Fixed photo viewer. Photos can now be stretched fullscreen.
  • Improved rating UI
  • Read more than 10 stories in feeds.
  • Major increases to stability.
  • Fixing many small bugs.

Note of Caution from AP:

Please note: some users are experiencing difficulties updating their application to 2.0. This happens on first running the application as the application registers with our back-end servers. If this happens to you, we suggest you delete the application and when you have a strong WIFI signal re-downloading the application and running it again.

Link to a Review on TUAW A fairly critical review of AP News 2.0.

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