Great News and Weather Apps for iPhone - dummies

Great News and Weather Apps for iPhone

By Nancy C. Muir

Using your iPhone to keep up-to-date on info that changes all the time is an obvious choice. Even though iPhone has its own Weather and News apps, here are some other great news and weather apps to check out for your iPhone:

  • Flipboard: This free app is a news aggregator just like the pre-installed Apple News app, meaning that it can collect news from different sources and display it all in one app. Flipboard has a social twist: it focuses on news related to social news, meaning that it includes feeds from your social network. You can locate and follow whatever topics you like, such as the World Cup or an area of conflict in the Middle East, and you get regular updates with the latest stories. With Flipboard, you can also collect comments from various social networking sites to read in one centralized place.

  • Linked In Pulse Daily News: Alphonso Labs’ Pulse News for iPhone reader is one of the most interesting apps to come out. Pulse is an RSS news reader, but rather than presenting those feeds as straightforward lists, Pulse presents them as graphically rich blocks that look almost like a filmstrip. If the RSS feeds you’re following include images with them, those images display by the text, making it a lot easier to get the gist of each article, and it certainly makes scrolling through your feeds more interesting. The Smart Dock is a nice feature that recommends sources based on the items that you read.

    RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it’s another way for a website to serve up new articles, stories, or other forms of content, usually with a headline link to the full article, a teaser, and sometimes an image. An RSS news reader is an app that displays RSS feeds from one or more sites. It’s just another way to read a website.

    You’ll also find a social networking component in Pulse. When you see an article you like, you can tap the Heart icon and add it to your own Pulse. This is basically an RSS feed that you create that has only those articles you pick. You can have up to five Pulses, and your friends can follow them.

  • AP Mobile: This app, which is free, gathers together stories from the Associated Press. You can select the sources you want to read, from local newspapers to broadcast news. AP Mobile taps into about 1,000 local newspapers in the United States as well as from international news sources. Because the Associated Press is a source for other news outlets to pick and choose from, you get more news than many other news apps offer.

  • NPR News for iPhone: If you’re an NPR (that stands for National Public Radio) junkie, you’ll be glad to hear that this is one of those best-in-class apps in terms of its user interface. More important is the fact that it offers you access to just about everything NPR produces, including written stories, radio news stories, and a broad selection of the entertainment and informational radio shows from the various NPR stations around the country.

    You can browse NPR’s content in several ways. The home screen features three scrollable timelines, one each for News, Arts & Life, and Music. These three streams are all stories and articles produced by the NPR news organization — the different radio programs are offered separately. You can swipe through these three streams from left to right, and when you tap a story that interests you, it takes over the screen, with the category stream at the bottom.

    Some of these articles are offered in text only, but most of them have an accompanying radio report embedded right there. You can listen to the audio report from the home screen by tapping the Speaker button in the teaser, or by tapping the Listen Now button in the full article. Better yet, you can queue up stories in a Playlist for later listening. It’s a great way to make sure that you’re hearing all the articles you want to listen to.

    Any show currently being aired somewhere in the world has an On Air label. You can tap into these shows live.

  • NBS Sports Live Extra: If you like sports, you’ll love this free app. You can watch live sports programming from a variety of sources such as NBCSN and the Golf Channel. In addition to live programming, you get access to sports clips and highlights with a Video on Demand feature. You can have reminders sent to you for upcoming games. Remember that streaming live sports games over your 3G/4G phone connection can get pricey in terms of data use, so you might want to use this one just for those really important play-offs!

    BBC News is a news app that offers news in several languages other than English, including Spanish, Russian, and Arabic. You can find the stories offered in those languages at the bottom of the category list.

  • The Weather Channel: Besides Apple’s Weather app on your iPhone, some great options are available for you to choose from in the App Store. Weather apps are one of those things that people take pretty seriously, and what works for one person may not work for you. The Weather Channel Max for iPhone is one of the best of the bunch, providing some tidbits of weather information that Apple’s Weather app doesn’t.

    The Weather Channel Max for iPhone is basically like having a big slice of The Weather Channel itself. It has forecasts, weather maps, warnings, and even some of the TV station’s video reports. It also has ads . . . a lot of them. This turns off some people, but you’re getting a lot of content that is otherwise free. And it’s those ads that pay for all that content.

    That out of the way, look at the app! When you first launch it, it asks whether it can use your current location (assuming that you have your iPhone set to ask for that permission). If you tap OK, you see a Google Maps display of your local area and six buttons for you to choose different features of the apps: Maps, Local, Video, Severe, Social, and On TV.

    Some of the map views can play through the observed weather for the last two hours or the forecast for the next four hours. That’s super cool.