There are already several news apps available in the iTunes Store for iPhone and iPod Touch. Some bring you the headlines, while others bring you video, while still others get you the latest images in the news, but there aren't very many comprehensive news apps that bring you everything. Just today, CNN released its CNN App ($1.99) that not only brings you headlines, video, and images, but also adds other useful tools so you can remain in the know wherever you are.
The CNN App interface is immediately impressive upon launch, with sleek white text on a black background and breaking news stories with images. You get story highlights right below the images for quick headline scanning, but you also can scroll down to get more details about a specific story. Flick your finger from right to left to move on to the next headline. If you want local news, simply let the CNN App use your location and you'll get local headlines along with traffic updates and weather info. The overall feel of the app is elegant, with an interface that helps you get to the news you want to watch and read.
For video headlines the CNN App uses a Cover Flow-like interface letting you swipe your finger to browse from video to video. Across the top are headings so you can quickly view several categories including Top Stories, CNN TV, and Most Popular stories, but you can also browse categories like Tech, Health, Travel, and many more. The CNN App attempts to optimize video for your connection, with passable video using the Edge network, on up to high-quality streams using Wi-Fi. We have yet to test the app on the Edge network, but 3G and Wi-Fi video is of good quality. But probably the most impressive video feature is the ability to watch live streaming video for breaking news stories. You can configure the app to push notify you on specific stories you're following or when live video is available.
Following stories for the latest updates is another cool feature. Simply hit a button in the upper right corner of the interface and select "Follow story" to get breaking news for that story as it becomes available. You can then flip to My CNN at the bottom of the interface to browse stories you're following and get the latest updates for each.
For those without a reliable connection (or no connection at all like when you're flying, for example), the CNN App offers the capability to save stories and video to your iPhone so you can watch them later. Even when you're commuting to work and know you'll pass through tunnels or hit dead spots in your connection, you'll be able to read stories and watch video you previously saved.
Perhaps one of the best features that's been added to the CNN App is the capability to report your own news stories on iReport.com. In this section you'll be able to add images with your iPhone 3G or video with your 3GS and submit your story to iReport.com. CNN regularly checks the iReport site for quality stories and additional footage it can air on television, so you may have the opportunity to see your video or images on the network.
Overall, while there are other news apps out there, we think the CNN App offers a nice-looking interface with more features than most apps in the iTunes Store. At $1.99, this app is definitely worth your money if you like to follow breaking news stories in detail or just want a way to quickly scan the headlines for the latest news.