There are so many ways to get your daily news fix on the iPhone, it's getting increasingly harder to decide how to get the facts. If you want AP news, and only AP news, the AP's Mobile News Network is hard to beat.
When you launch Mobile News Network for the first time, you have the option of tapping on one of four icons — representing top news, local, sports and showbiz — aligned on a menu at the bottom of the screen. Tap, say, top news, and you'll get a list of current news stories, updated within minutes of when the stories AP reporters file their stories.
There's a fifth icon for "More" that will take you to a lengthy list of additional categories and a "Configure" button. Tap the button and you'll be looking at a page's worth of category icons. Select the one you want, drag it to the bottom menu, and you'll be able to replace any of the original icon categories. For example, you can replace showbiz with politics.
The Mobile News Network is exceptionally intuitive and there's virtually no learning curve. The interface is super clean and the news — whether as text, images or video — comes at you surprisingly fast over Wi-Fi.
Once you've selected an article to read within the Mobile News Network app, you have the option of emailing the article to friends, relatives or colleagues. You can also send a text message from the same page. Last, there's a "Save" option.
If you happen to come across the fire department rescuing a cat stuck up a tree, or other exciting news, you can record the scene and send it to the AP with a comment.
Mobile News Network is free, but it comes with a price: Each story is accompanied by an ad that pops up at the bottom of each page. The ads are small and they disappear on their own after about 5 seconds. You can see what I'm talking about in the screen shot.
My initial reaction on seeing the ads pop up was to exclaim, "The heck with that!" but I quickly became used to them and no longer find them particularly bothersome. I can see how some people might, which is the only reason I can't give this app a 10 for 10.
All in all, putting up with a little bit of advertising is a fair exchange for an app that is as slick as this one. Someone's got to make money on these kinds of services, or we're all going to lose out eventually.
Capitalism at it's best, I'll say. Now, that reminds me, I need to replace that icon for sports with one for business.