Five iOS apps every news junkie should download right now

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Like many satisfied Apple customers over the past few years, I’ve fallen in love with my iPhone and iPad. I use these two devices every day to research and publish, both at home, at work and in those rare moments when I find myself in the field (I have a desk job, so it’s pretty rare, but it’s been known to happen).

My research, aggregation and reporting is made better with the assistance of five applications. These apps have four things in common: They all provide a service, they’re easy to use, they’re powerful and, as far as presentation is concerned, they’re beautiful. They are five applications I believe every serious journalist and news enthusiast should download right now. Here they are:

Pocket (Formerly Read it Later) [Free: iPhone & iPad]

When it comes to software that saves articles and photos for offline viewing on mobile devices, Instapaper reigns king. But I think that’s going to change: Formerly “Read it Later,” Pocket is an app that is beautifully designed. Saving content is easy — just click a Javascript button whenever you want to save an article, or use the “Save” feature found in over 300 third-party apps — but where Pocket really shines is in the reading experience. Simply put, it’s gorgeous. Open the app, and you’ll find all your saved content nestled in an elegant quilt (or in list form, if you prefer). Reading articles in the Pocket app is a true joy — Pocket doesn’t bombard you with advertisements, scroll bars or buttons. It presents pictures and text in an article around white space that compliments the reading experience. Pocket makes reading long-form journalism an enjoyable experience, and it’s a great way to archive articles you want to reference later.

LiveStation [Free: iPhone & iPad]

CNN, MSNBC and FOX News aren’t the only choices for television news. LiveStation powers live video feeds for some of the world’s most-notable television news brands, including Al Jazeera English, France 24, Russia Today and Press TV in the United States and BBC News, CNN International and Sky News in the United Kingdom. Most of LiveStation’s video feeds are free (and can also be viewed on desktop Internet browsers, if you don’t own an iOS device). Recently, LiveStation introduced premium “globetrotter” channels for customers in the United States — $5 a month gets you access to Sky News International, BBC World News, Euronews and a higher-quality version of Al Jazeera English. There’s a handful of live video feeds in other languages — some free, some premium — including Al Jazeera Arabic, Al Jazeera Mubasher, HispanTV and the newly-launched Sky News Arabia.

LinkTV News [Free: iPad]

As someone who works for the world’s largest news organization, it’s imperative I stay on top of news happening throughout the world. LinkTV’s brand-new iPad app is simply a gem. News content presented inside the app is fresh — stories are aggregated from LinkTV’s many content partners, which include video and photos from Al Jazeera, Euronews, Deutsche Welle, the Associated Press, Reuters and others.  From the home screen, swipe left and you’ll find a map plotted with various stories from around the world (stories are viewable from the past 24 hours, the past week and the past month). LinkTV also offers on-demand streams of their various documentaries. Simply put, if you want to feel connected to every corner of the globe, you have to download the LinkTV app.

TuneIn Pro [$1: iPhone & iPad]

Watching a video stream can demand quite a bit of attention. While I love LiveStation and LinkTV, I often find myself turning to TuneIn (no pun intended) when I need to multi-task. TuneIn started out as RadioTime, a catalogue of thousands of online radio station streams. The TuneIn app still makes use of RadioTime’s massive online radio catalogue, which includes every genre you could possibly think of — including talk radio and news. Simulcasts of CNN US, Al Jazeera English and Sky News International are offered as audio streams, as are special online-only streams from CBS News Radio, NPR and PRI. TuneIn also offers global radio stations, including BBC World Service and Deutsche Welle. Two other features that make TuneIn a must-have: The ability to record any live stream you’re listening to on the fly, and a massive podcast directory which allows you to stream (as opposed to download) virtually any podcast you can think of. TuneIn’s app also allows a user to listen to an audio stream currently not in the catalogue by manually adding the URL (some streams, such as those operated by Clear Channe, Cumulus and most CBS Radio music stations, are blocked from TuneIn). There is also a free version of TuneIn’s app, though the free version doesn’t allow for stream recording.

TweetBot [$3: iPhone & iPad]

I used to use the Twitter client for iPhone and iPad and thought it was the greatest thing under the sun until a friend introduced me to TweetBot.  As far as Twitter clients go, TweetBot is an absolute beast. TweetBot can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be: Want to tweet and re-tweet? TweetBot can do that (old and new style retweets, even). Want to upload a photo? TweetBot can do that too. TweetBot also offers the ability to view and manage lists, save articles to apps for offline reading (like Pocket) and manage multiple accounts. TweetBot is power packaged with stellar presentation. It’s the Twitter client Twitter should have built. (Note: One downside to TweetBot is that you have to pay for the iPhone app and the iPad app separately, so expect to drop $6 for both.)

Have a suggestion for a must-have iOS app? Send me an email or leave a comment below.