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CNN's new iPhone app takes mobile news to the next level

September 28, 2009 |  9:00 pm


Iphone-quake-rescue

An exception among the generally innovation-averse old-media crowd, CNN has often shown that it is not afraid to embrace new technologies or, when necessary, to invent some its own.

Continuing that trend, the network and its market-leading website, CNN.com, have released a new iPhone app, a kind of fully loaded Swiss Army knife for news. 

The app's features include old-school written articles, live streaming video, localized traffic and weather, and -- coolest -- the ability for users to upload cellphone photos or video to iReport, the network's online haven for amateur reporting.

Iphone-cnn-submit

That will be the first time CNN has created a direct uplink from a mobile device to its iReport platform, an enhancement that could make it easier for users to transmit the kind of on-the-ground citizen reports that have grown common during high-profile events.

CNN says its video upload and download features will work fine on the open cellular network, where video features are typically pokey.


The application, available for $1.99 and initially hosting in-app advertising from Chevron and Lexus, is definitely testing the bounds of app simplicity, nearly mimicking a full website with the number of features and multimedia options. 

But CNN, with rather unabashed bravado, believes that its users want all that heavy firepower.  The new app "is one of the best user experiences around," said Louis Gump, vice president of CNN Mobile, in a statement, "and will quickly become an essential daily news source for many iPhone and iPod Touch users."

Some of that confidence is earned, of course. CNN.com is still the highest-trafficked news site, and it also owns one of the most followed Twitter accounts

The current king of iPhone news apps is, arguably, NPR, which gives unfettered access to archived content from a huge list of radio stations. But CNN's bold move, bringing TV news to the iPhone, could mean a duel for media app dominance is afoot.

-- David Sarno

iPhone screen shots: CNN

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