Back in 2007, the Associated Press made history by launching the first news app available for download from the App Store. In fact, when Steve Jobs introduced the world-changing App Store, AP’s director of mobile was there too, talking about how people would eventually consume news on their phones. And that, as we all now know, turned out to be a very prescient prediction.
While the original AP Mobile app is still kicking around on Google Play, over in the App Store it was recently replaced with AP News. AP says an Android version will be available later this year and that the original AP Mobile app will then be retired. Although AP News represents a significant upgrade, AP’s apps have consistently been ranked among the top breaking news apps since their launch. Not only that, Business Insider even named it one of the world’s greatest apps back in 2014.
It may have been a pioneer, but staying on top in the trend-driven, dynamic world of mobile applications is no small feat. So what is it about AP’s app that makes it so successful?
The low down on AP
The Associated Press is the largest and oldest news organization in the world. It’s a not-for-profit co-operative with more than 4,000 employees working in more than 240 newsrooms and bureaus across the globe. In the news industry, AP is basically synonymous with accurate, balanced, and informed reporting.
AP also supplies news, photos, audio, and video to thousands of member news organizations, so if you want to read the news on the go, why not go straight to the source? AP News isn’t the sexiest of mobile apps, but it doesn’t need bells and whistles to stand out. It’s all about breaking news and usability. “There are a lot of news products on the market, but AP News is really built for you, the user,” says AP’s global director of mobile, Michael Boord.
Curating your own newsfeed
AP News is free to download and lets users create a personalized newsfeed tailored to their interests and preferences. You can choose to follow specific areas of interest, geographies, or trending topics that range from health and science, to your local news, to Donald Trump, Beyoncé and beyond.
Simply follow whatever you’re interested in and decide whether or not you’d like to receive alerts as new related stories are posted. To get an overview of what’s going on in the news, AP curates its top picks. There’s also a trending topics tab to help keep you on top of what everyone else is reading about. If you’re short on time, you can save stories to read later. And, if you’ve got time to spare, there are journalistically curated topic hubs and shareable collections for those looking to go deep on a particular topic.
Local news features
AP gives you access to local news wherever you are. Local content is only available in the US and parts of Canada, but getting it is as easy as ticking the “Add Local News” button. AP member organizations have to opt-in to allow AP deliver their news via the app, so not every newspaper or organization will be represented. However, once a user clicks a headline, the app seamlessly transitions them to that member site for local coverage.
AP News is currently available in English and Spanish and there are a few other basic functions, like the ability to change the font size, weather measurements, and choose to see fewer photos. It also comes with a companion website apnews.com, which is identical to the app.
You don’t need to register or sign up and AP News doesn’t tap into your social feeds, which, in this day and age, can be a relief. Instead of changing the settings on your phone for alerts, you can do it inside the app. You can also set quiet times where you’re not disturbed by alerts, and select and deselect topics. Although AP News users can’t currently customize the timing of alerts, AP says it hopes to include this feature in the future.
A straightforward, functional news app
While the AP app isn’t visually spectacular, It’s easy and intuitive to use and really leaves the power in the user’s hands. No wonder it’s been named consistently among the world’s best apps. And with the Android version on the way, it will soon be accessible to millions of more people.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s definitely worth putting on your radar.