Hourly News: exactly what it says, and that's perfect

(iOS, Mac) Hourly News is a dead-simple app that does one thing: it plays the latest updates from a list of news sources, one after another.

And, that's it. You could stop reading now, but I hope you don't, because I'd like to point out a few things that make this app awesome.

All the news that's fit to play

First, if you are a news junkie, you will love Hourly News. Hit play, and you will hear news from American sources like NPR, FOX, ABC, and CBS. You can also hear BBC newscasts, and CBC from Canada. Internationally, there are English-language newscasts from VOA, DW (Deutsche Welle) in Germany, and RTHK from Hong Kong.

Hearing local news from around the world is neat. RTHK is especially so -- not just because interesting things happen in Hong Kong, but also the clash of cultures between Hong Kong and mainland China.

The world in perspective

And when there is a major news story, it is fascinating to hear the same events from different international perspectives. CBC in particular often goes into greater depth on stories -- I've learned more about American events from CBC's longer-form stories than our own news outlets many times.

Using Hourly News is so simple, that I can explain it in three screencaps.
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Here's the main screen. It displays the name of the news source, a time bar, and a giant play button. Tap it and Hourly News will play your news sources, one after another. You can also set it to auto-play when you open the app, no tapping required. I do this, because during that extra second I could be opening a Snickers bar.

At the top, there is a row of dots showing the number of news sources on your list, and which one is playing. You can see from my dots that I am very well informed.
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Here's where you select your news sources. Hourly News has 16 sources built in, and it's a solid collection. You can also enter your own if you have a feed URL. (Adding your own source requires a 99-cent in-app purchase, which is pretty minimal.)

Customizing your sources is easy. Each source has a switch, so you can turn on the ones you want to hear, and turn off the ones that annoy the crap out of you. You can drag the sources into the order you want—a simple touch that makes a huge difference.

Most of the sources are indeed hourly -- the American, CBC, and BBC broadcasts. Others update less frequently, or in some cases daily.
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Here is the complicated settings screen.

These make the app even easier to use. "Play All Sources" does precisely that—your news sources will play one after another, like a playlist of worldly information. This is perfect for driving.
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Hourly News also has a Mac app, which plays from your menu bar. You can sync sources and settings between the Mac and iOS apps via iCloud.

Turn it up to (iOS) 11!

Hourly News has been on my home screen for literally years, and I was getting a bit nervous with the looming iOS 11 release and its ominous warnings about deprecated apps. But the developers just released an update, and Hourly News is 64-bitted up and ready for 11!

THAT is excellent news indeed.

Hourly News is by far my most-used app. I think you'll find yourself opening it often — I use it throughout the day. Doing laundry, making dinner, driving to work, procrastinating from writing — anytime you've got a few minutes, Hourly News will tell you what's going on in the world.

Hourly News for iOS is 99 cents, and worth every penny.
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I write plays and lyrics. I design for print and web. I blog about apps, Mac stuff, and writing.
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