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Quick Look Review
NPR App for iPhone is Practically Perfect
Thursday, August 20th, 2009 at 3:50 PM - by John Martellaro
On August 15, National Public Radio (NPR) released its iPhone app, version 1.0. For a first version, the app is just about perfect. You can listen to NPR from any city, save as a favorite, catch up on recent programs, download the podcasts, and read the latest news as text. The app is smooth, refined, and essential. Best of all, it's free.
It always shows when a news organization is experienced and self-confident. It knows that the content it delivers is useful and sought out. That results in a certain low key approach combined with application excellence. The NPR app is one of those.
NPR Main page
The home page has three tabs: Top Stories (text), More stories (broken down by U.S., world, politics, business, science and health) and Newscast -- the current hourly news in audio.
Tabs at the bottom include: News, Programs (by name), Stations (a list of all U.S. stations by state), your Playlist, and More....
For example, if you want to listen to the August 8 edition of Car Talk, just click on Programs -> Car Talk and tap it to select and then tap "Listen Now." Or you can add it to a playlist or download to iTunes. When playing directly, there's no way to jump ahead (or around) in the program. But if you download it as a Podcast, then you can. Each program includes a text synopsis to help you recall if you heard the program before. A very simple start/pause/timer display is at the bottom and comes up just by tapping near the bottom of the display.
Car Talk (and controls)
For those people who commute every day in the car, they're bound to the program that's live at the time. However, having the complete works of NPR available at your finger tips on the iPhone or iPod touch is a game changer. It's possible to listen to or catch up with almost any recent program at any time and place of your choosing. It opens things up in a way a car radio never could.
Devotees of "All Things Considered" or "Morning Edition" can, with ear buds in place, tune in and catch up while in their cubicle at work or save the Podcast for later listening during the commute or Saturday lawn mowing.
If desired, just pick your favorite NPR station from anywhere in the U.S. and listen live.
KCFR (K - Colorado Front Range)
I was impressed with the quality of the app for a version 1.0. I worked it over pretty hard, and it stood up fabulously. (The developer is Bottle Rocket Software.) A nice touch is that when you quit the app, the sound doesn't just cut out. It does a nice, sloooow fade.
There's a lot of stuff out there, gnawing and hyping for your attention. This Must Have app is worth the few seconds it takes to download. Even though this is a quick look, I'll give it a five out of five rating.
The NPR app for the iPhone or iPod touch is free. It requires iPhone OS 2.0 or later.
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