BBC News gets green light for iPhone App

Despite vociferous complaints from newspaper publishers keen to make money out of iDevice news Apps, the BBC has launched its own free service today.

Originally planned for an April outing, the BBC News App was delayed until today because the Newspaper Publishers Association (NPA) didn't want Apple owners to get for free news that they had already paid for as part of their TV licence fee, when its members could have charged them for it.

The BBC Trust has now decided that the new software "did not represent a significant change to the BBC's existing public services", but says it will monitor the launch carefully.

Similar Apps for BBC Sport and iPlayer are next on the cards.

You can watch a 'live' stream of rolling news, read the day's top stories, and even submit stories and pictures from within the App. The interface is very nicely put together, giving distinctly different layouts for landscape and portrait modes, and the video quality is generally superb.

The App doesn't offer much beyond what you would find if you pointed your device's browser at the BBC web site (apart from looking much prettier, particularly on the iPad) so we can't really see what all the fuss was about.

Although this is a free App, the BBC is quick to point out that data contracts are not, and anyone using the news service without access to a Wi-Fi hotspot could be in for some pretty hefty bills, especially if they are abroad or watching lots of embedded video clips.

Although the App is free to everyone, your ISP will have to be UK based in order for you to watch video clips. We're not quite sure why this (below) popped up the first time we used the App, as we were in the UK the last time we had checked, but we haven't seen it since.

Our verdict? It's free and it's from the most trusted news source on the planet, the BBC. What's not to like?