- Easy to use
- Supports push notifications
- Local news and weather
- Not free
- Headlines aren't updated very quickly
Most news organizations offer their iPhone apps for free, but CNN went the paid route. Since there are a number of good, free news apps available, CNN Mobile (CNN Interactive Group, $1.99) has to really shine to justify its price tag.
The CNN Mobile app does some things very well. The interface is fantastic and fits in well with the organization’s television and web presence. I found it simple to navigate and the white text on black background design is easy to read. CNN Mobile also has a terrific selection of high-quality videos, and it supports push notifications for breaking news alerts.
CNN got a lot of flack when the app first launched because it contained ads, which are usually confined to news apps offered for free. Even though the app’s description still claims that it is ad-supported, I’ve seen no third-party ads. However, there are plenty of red “how to get the most out of this app” banners that are equally distracting. You’ll also see a similar full-screen advertisement, which is basically explaining how to use the app’s various features, before videos play.
Like the AP Mobile iPhone app, CNN Mobile syncs with your local news and weather. It includes headlines from local newspapers as well as television stations, and the weather section includes a radar map and a 10-day forecast. This is very convenient, and something every news app should offer. The CNN Mobile app also includes a whole section for iReports, so you can view user-generated photos and videos or upload some of your own.
While all these features are great, I found the news coverage itself somewhat lacking. CNN Mobile includes 10 news categories, including top stories, world, U.S. and politics. However, there are only about 10 articles in each category, and the headlines aren't refreshed often enough. One big political news story was covered pretty quickly on CNN and CNN.com, but even hours after the story broke it wasn’t on the iPhone app. On the other hand, the AP Mobile app had the story minutes after it originally appeared on cable news.
The Bottom Line
The CNN Mobile iPhone app offers lots of extras like iReport videos and local weather, but, for a paid app, I found the news coverage somewhat lacking. I'm disappointed in how infrequently the headlines are refreshed, and breaking news could be covered more quickly. That said, CNN Mobile is a good choice for those who mainly want to watch videos (the quality here is excellent) or surf user-generated content. Overall rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
What You’ll Need