iPhone news apps: AP out, Reuters/USA Today/NY Times in

Jul 19, 2009

I previously posted about the state of iPhone news apps and how I am looking for a decent app on my daily commute. Back at the time, AP Mobile News was a decent one, and they have posted many updates since. But the app became unusable over time, featuring frequent crashes, terribly slow and unpredictable update times, no feedback, and generally a poor experience.

So despite the fact that someone from there sent me a nice email after my post, I started looking for alternatives. And got some good recommendations on Twitter. So, I checked out the three apps mentioned: Thomson Reuters, USA Today, and NYTimes.

In short: they are all much better than AP News. So I immediately threw AP News out and have been using all these three daily. I don’t read all categories from all apps all the time, so I’m more of casual user. Following are the splash screen, listing, and one article view from each. (Umm.. and iPhone and Flickr are messing with me and converted all these into ugly JPEGs for some reason, so nevermind the artifacts.)

Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters splash screen

Thomson Reuters article listing

Thomson Reuters one article

USA Today

USA Today splash screen

USA Today article listing

USA Today one article layout

NYTimes

NY Times splash screen

NY Times article listing

NY Times one article layout

My favorite?

Hard to say. I don’t have one favorite among the apps. I keep using all three until I figure it out. Reuters’ updating process is easiest, I don’t have to go through all categories, since there is just one listing page. In the other two, you have to change categories to update all items (I think? The apps are not clear on this).

I love love LOVE the USA Today one article layout. By far the best one, most readable to me and also subjectively the nicest. Most likely due to the huge margin and generous line spacing.

NY Times has the best progress feedback, as you can see from the listing page. It has two stages: “Downloading” and “Processing”. Other apps have no feedback. But all of them are reasonably fast, at least when you come from AP Mobile News hell.