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App Review – The Independent

Developer: Missing Ink Studios Ltd
Category: News

Price: Free

They say newspapers are dead and it’s certainly true that we can receive our news online nowadays without the need to get our hands grubby with newsprint. The growing trend, however, is to put the daily news agenda in the palm of your hand and The Independent’s iPhone app is just one example of that. The opening screen of the app resembles the interface of the iPhone itself with 12 bright icons highlighting the various sections of the newspaper. You are able to read news from the UK and the world, catch the latest sport and football news, gen up on the latest business dealings and understand more about the tech industry. There are also opinion columns. But the organisation of these icons is quite muddled and there is no way to rearrange them. We can see the logic in why Sport and Football are listed as separate icons but it’s odd that they are so far apart. And some sections, such as People, are rather pointless and sparsely populated. Still, there are some nice touches. The homepage icons are accompanied by a red bubble containing a number, showing how many stories are within each section. It’s a good indicator for how many stories you have left to read. Tapping a tick in the bottom right of each section allows you to tell the app that you’ve finished reading that part and the number is then removed. In many ways, The Independent app is a straight-forward RSS reader, with each section being a list of headlines linking to stories which load very quickly. As you would expect, the news is well-written and authoritative but the headlines could be a tad more descriptive, particularly on the Opinion and Arts & Entertainment sections, given you don’t get to see the first par of a story in the listings. Each section also contains an advert at the top of the page which annoyingly drops down a second after the headlines have displayed. But you are able to bookmark articles of interest, send them by email (it would be nice to be able to Twitter them too) and increase the size of the text. Most articles contain pictures too. Some users have commented that The Independent’s development team have been listening to feedback so the app can only improve over time. As it is, it’s a worthwhile addition – and it’s free.

Longevity: 8.0
Fun factor: 7.0
Practicality: 7.0
Value For Money: 7.0

Kung Fu Verdict: 7.3