Few App Store categories saw as much upheaval in the past year as news delivery apps did. Developers have seized on the idea of letting mobile device users customize their news. They’ve also found new ways of delivering streaming video straight to your iOS device. Our two top news app picks represent the best of those particular trends.
Many apps followed the lead of 2010 App Gem winner Flipboard to deliver news that reflects specific interests, whether it be from sources you follow or links your friends post on social networks. Our favorite player to emerge in 2011 was Zite, which surveys your Facebook and Twitter feeds to pull together stories on topics the app thinks will interest you. Zite stands out from the news aggregator crowd, thanks to an elegant interface. It also learns your preference by the stories you consume and the ones you rate with a thumbs up or thumbs down. Plenty of apps promise a similar experience, but Zite does the best job among newcomers of balancing personalized content with top-notch design. And while we made our pick when Zite was still an iPad-only app, its developer recently released a universal version, so that iPhone and iPod touch users can see what’s so great about Zite.—Philip Michaels
On the video front, Bloomberg TV+ has emerged as a terrific app that could change the way we interact with broadcast news. The business and finance channel’s app lets you watch a 24-hour live stream of Bloomberg’s television programming, formatted just right for the iPad. This isn’t just TV on your tablet, though—the app enhances its video offerings with extra content on people, companies, and topics mentioned in its stories. You can access on-demand episodes of a dozen Bloomberg TV shows, add videos to a personal playlist for future viewing, and even read top news articles from the Bloomberg.com. The best part? It’s all available for free.—Alexandra Chang