back to article BBC news apps squeeze onto iPhone, iPad

The BBC Trust has waved through a Beeb news app for Apple’s iPhone and iPad, just a few months after the Corporation’s governing body mulled whether development of the software could be justified. Auntie announced today that apps had been launched for the Jesus Phone and the Jobsian fondle slab in the UK. The BBC had …


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  1. James Hughes 1

    Jobsian Fondle Slab


  2. Robert Forsyth

    If users pay for the app

    then it might be OK

    1. ironical tomsk

      I think you'll find we already do


      We already pay for it - TV Licence?

  3. Anonymous Coward


    So not only content with old Maggie Shiels pretty much worshipping at the feet of old Jobsy they also have to go a launch an app for it.

    Dont get me wrong, I am not an iPhone hater or lover, its just a phone.

    What I dont like is that fact that companies (especially one paid by the british public) is choosing one platform over another. Why instead, cant they spend money on their mobile site for all smartphones instead of locking into a specificed ecosystem.

    If I remember rightly (feel free to correct me) most android and iOS devices can support a wide range of modern web formats and standards so making "pretty" online portals shouldnt be too difficult.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      And someone has proved it...

      Love this bandwagon buster...

      I'm not a paid up member of the iPhone/iPad club, I have an Android phone. But I do pay my license fee, so why has my money gone towards creating an app for a single platform?

      1. Eponymous Howard

        Did you bother to follow some links...


        But I do pay my license fee, so why has my money gone towards creating an app for a single platform?


        ...and read up on the rest of the story?

        No? Didn't think so.

        You might want to before you look quite such a jackass again.

      2. peter_dtm


        Let's see :

        I don't watch East Enders (or any soap) so why should I pay for that ?

        I don't watch terrestrial TV, so why should I pay for that ?

        I don't read the Guardian so why should the government pay to advertise in that (a single supplier in a large market place ?

        Oh yes - let's all just pay for only the government (tax payer funded) stuff we actually use

    2. Anonymous Coward

      RE: beJebus!

      "What I dont like is that fact that companies (especially one paid by the british public) is choosing one platform over another."

      They're not. They're just making it a little easier. You can still visit the mobile site (or indeed the full BBC news site) using Safari on the iPhone and I'm guessing it's the same with all phones.

  4. Alan Denman

    A bunch of donkies!

    A useful app.

    But wasting taxpayers money just because Apple banned Flash is banned is a tad worrying to say the least.

    1. StooMonster

      Wasting tax payers' money?

      What about the ultra shite new BBC News website redesign?

      What about the new iPlayer site (beta) with Web2.0rhea?

      Bet either of these cost magnitudes of the cost of development of this iPhone App.

  5. Jacqui

    BBC = TVL = extortion

    Not having a TV or a licence I can safely say this means little to me :-) Except I have a mobile phone and a computer with net access - this is where it starts to get messy.

    This is because a little london based web-birdy suggested that the BBC is pushing harder than ever to get live broadcast content on net enabled devices such as Iphones so that they can request that anyone with a net enabled device must purchase a licence as any such equipment constitues broadcast reception equipment. Yes that old chestnut looks to be seen as the saviour of upper managements >20Kpa expense budgets. Canvas is part ofthe same strategy.

    Already there have been cases where small business have been conned into paying over 500UKP per annum for a "commercial" TV licence because thier *laptops* that sales staff use came with a builtin TV decoder. From the guidelines battery operated (standalone) devices do not require a licence but TVL^WBBC enforcer/threats/nastysell still gets the dosh.

    1. Christopher Cowan

      You need a licence for laptops on batteries and phones...

      if you watch live TV. iPlayer is fine.

  6. Ian Ferguson


    I would like this, except that the app doesn't work very well, and the BBC News mobile site is already excellent.

    There will always be competing standards, it's just something we have to live with. The likes of the BBC choose to develop for iOS because of user numbers. If you want to access the services on a variety of platforms - there's always HTML.

  7. Mike Hanna

    Why is it needed?

    I have a shortcut to the BBC News Page, and BBC Sports page, and BBC iPlayer all on my iPhone screen. All three work perfectly well (although I have to be hooked up via WiFi for iPlayer) so why go to the expence of building a specific app for it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Why is it needed?

      Try it and find out!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My license fee at work ...

    Wholly unimpressed.

  9. Lloyd

    That's all right Aunty

    Us Android users can view the BBC site via our browser anyway, and of course we can view all of the Flash video content without any need for an app. Now if you could just sort out the new news navigation so that it's navigable then we'd all be happy.

  10. DaveB
    Thumb Up

    Good News

    As the BBC WEB design team(sic) have broken the news site its good news that we now get the content on iPhone.

  11. rfdparker2002

    Yet again...

    Nice to see the BBC releasing an app (and two others next in the line) for a three month-old device (the iPad) before even considering a platform which had it's first device in late 2008 (Android), especially when they've only just delivered an official way of accessing the iPlayer on Andorid, but via Flash, thereby limiting it to 2.2 (and ARMv7-capable) devices (not to mentioned that they C&D-ed the unofficial BeebPlayer app that worked on all versions of Android in the process...).

    We've had this sort of thing with the BBC before... it was called developing the video delivery of iPlayer with Windows Media, and eventually they took our advice, and found everyone much the happier because of it...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: Yet again...

      All I could hear was "Boo hoo. They haven't done anything for my phone."

      Except that they have. You can access either the mobile (or the full) site using almost any web browser... even text based ones!

  12. David Webb


    Where is the Symbian app, or better still, the app wrote in QT to support Symbian and Maemo and MeeGo? 3 million fondle slabs sold and it gets an app, how many Symbian mobiles are there out there?

    Oh well, I'll just visit the bbc website on my N900 using Opera and having flash, though I can see no justification in making an app for a system with only 3m units worldwide, that's pretty stupid.

    1. Argh


      Because there are so many shipped devices using Meego!

      Or Maemo really, compared to other platforms.

      Symbian I can understand, and the BBC have actually shipped iPlayer applications for some Symbian platforms (N97 etc.).

      This is old news, but I still feel the need to nag. I can understand the BBC shipping iPhone apps now, but was a bit annoyed when iPlayer was released for it when it was a very rare device in the UK with only a single network selling it. Not really investing in technology to benefit the majority of license payers.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Ascylto
      Big Brother


      BBC, if anything, should carry a 'Sponsored by Microsoft' banner. Look at where the executives have come from, look at the BBC iPlayer which can record ONLY on Microsoft products.

      Go and do some homework first!

  14. MattWPBS

    For fox sakes...

    Just sort the website out, and sod the iPhone if it can't handle it.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: For fox sakes...

      The iPhone CAN handle it. That's how I browse the BBC web site.

  15. AlanJ
    Thumb Down

    Licence-fee money wasted

    The app is a good idea - but poorly implemented. It spends most of it's time displaying a blank white screen, runs *incredibly* slowly and tells me that live video streaming is only supported in the UK (when I'm actually sitting in the UK on good 3G and wifi connections). Come on BBC - you need to do better than this! How much licence fee money was squandered on this poor effort?

  16. Peter Wilkin
    Big Brother

    the "LIVE" button thinks I'm outside the UK

    Either the Live button dont work, or whoever programmed the code that works out where you are didnt do it correctly

    My IP range is in the UK (as it's from my ISP), yet the nice BBC app says I'm not in the UK

    Thank you BBC for thinking I'm not ... can I have my license fee back please

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Might be wrong but isn't it a compete lie to say Android users can use use Flash?

    1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

      Flash on Android

      Flash works fine on my Galaxy S running v2.1 of Android. I think v2.2 has native support out of the box, which is progress.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: Flash on Android

        Isn't that a cut down version...?

  18. Steve Hodson

    The... news website is horrible to read....fix that first please.

    The biggest issue with iPlayer and possibly this app too as far as I can figure out is the limited (is there any except news) content I can view outside the UK???

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother


    Two questions

    Is there any specific bias towards Apple products on the BBC either in program content or the direction their output is being channeled?


    Do BBC staff get discounts on Apple products?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      "Is there any specific bias towards Apple products on the BBC either in program content or the direction their output is being channeled?"

      I dont think so. There is a bias, in the case of the iPhone app, towards the most popular smartphone.

      It really is a no-brainer isn't it? Given an unlimited budget, you'd release apps for all the smartphone platforms at the same time. Or you could do the sensible thing and release an app for the greatest possible audience first, check that it's viable, update same and release for the second tier and so on. That'll be why an Android app is coming later in the year. And why meego, symbian and bada are going to have to wait longer.

      A little realism instead of continual carping wouldn't go amiss.

      And no, I don't work for the BBC and equally, no, I don't own an iPhone or any iPad or even an Android phone.

      1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

        Smartphone sales

        Last time I looked, Apple were third in the smartphone sales figures for 2009 *by platform*, behind Symbian (which has nearly 50% of the market) and Blackberry. So, yes, by all means write and release apps in popularity order, but make sure you use the correct figures.

        The reality, of course, is that the iPhone appeals to a certain type of personality, which is over-represented in the decision makers within media companies. Which is good, 'cos it keeps the little buggers off the streets....


      2. Atonnis


        ...the iPhone is a popular news story, but it definitely does not have the biggest market share.

        Any BBC news application should've been built for Symbian first, then Blackberry, before the iPhone platform.

        The BBC's bias towards the iPhone has been abundantly clear in recent years. What happened was all the pundits were given free iPhones and tons of extra marketing was directed their way so now they wax lyrical about it.

        And no, I don't work for the BBC either, and no I don't own an iPhone or Android or iPad.

  20. Sean Timarco Baggaley


    I've had the BBC News app sitting on my iPod touch since April.

    (The iPad one's not bad either, if a little flaky when updating.)

  21. ColonelClaw
    Thumb Up


    Just downloaded the app half expecting it to be rubbish, and much to my surprise it isn't at all. I'm sure different people's mileage will vary but from where I'm sitting the quality of video playback was incredibly good, and this is on a ye olde iPhone 3G. The live stream was pin sharp too. As it's obviously not coded in Flash does this mean the BBC had to re-encode all its vids for HTML5 or something? Or is it simpler than that?

    And I wouldn't get too wound up by there not being an Android version, for all the faults of the BBC, the iPlayer department seem to actually know their stuff, so I would expect them to release an Android version in due course.

  22. Macka
    Thumb Up

    I like it

    I used it for the first time last night on the train in an area where 3G reception is spotty and loading web pages is typically slow. It's very quick, easy to use and makes much better use of available bandwidth because it cuts out most of the HTML cruft. Back home, I found I can now see embedded video clips that I would not normally have access to due to lack of flash on iOS. So it gets a big thumbs up from me. I will be using this regularly from now on. Thanks Auntie!

  23. Maliciously Crafted Packet

    Flash version for Android

    Why not develop a Flash version for Android?

    That way the BBC can cover all the other mobile OS's such as webOS, Windows Phone 7, meego, symbian and bada etc.

    This one size fits all approach should save a few quid too.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: Flash version for Android

      "Why not develop a Flash version for Android?"

      The point in the iPhone app is that it REDUCES bandwidth, not increases it!

      The iPhone has always been able to browse the BBC News web site, so other phones presumably can too...

  24. Matt.Smart

    Bloody whingers!

    Dear god, there are a lot of whingers on this thread. Try reading the article! They're developing versions for other platforms (sorry Symbian lovers, imo the time for your platform is coming to an end): android and blackberry are getting versions soon.

    The BBC are absolutely right to develop for the iPhone first - like many other developers who make games/apps for iPhone before other platforms. It's not favouritism or the BBC being fanbois - it's common sense. If they developed for all platforms at the same time and spent loads on it, there'd be more whingers complaining about how their license fee was being wasted. They can't win!

    Oh and for what it's worth, I love the app :)

    1. ColonelClaw

      This is how it works

      Whenever anything good comes out and it's connected to Apple people here whinge. 10 years ago it was the same with Microsoft, and in 10 years when Google own the world it will be the same with them too. But right now it's Apple's turn.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        RE: This is how it works

        You're bang on. All you have to do is read about the iPhone 4 antenna issues.

        Last article I read the comments on, there were only 4 posters who actually owned an iPhone (out of 100+ posters). Three of them had no problems. The other one did.

        That's a ratio of "knowing what you're talking about" to "being a moany arse" at about 25/1

      2. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

        "Own the world"?

        The difference being, Microsoft really *did* own the world, or at least the little portion of it involved in desktop computing, and Google probably will in the future. Apple, meh, not so much.


  25. Jean-Paul


    I don't get the whinging android users...Surely you bunch on tinkers have hacked your phone to have flash on it, because oh yeah officially it can't do it either...Conveniently forgotten now...

    But even more so the tinkerers way is sure to setup the rss feed you read via your terminal emulator, not? Come on are you linux or not ;-)

    1. Greg J Preece

      Wow, what a pile of fail

      There is an official release of Flash for Android.

      There was an iPlayer app for Android. The Beeb had it removed.

      Your last paragraph makes no sense.

      Conclusion: you should know more about this stuff before spouting nonsense.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        RE: Wow, what a pile of fail

        Fail wasn't thin on the ground in your corner either!

        "There was an iPlayer app for Android. The Beeb had it removed."

        It wasn't an iPlayer app. It was an application that was doing things the Beeb did not approve of with their (copyrighted) data...

        "Your last paragraph makes no sense."

        It made sense to me but then I know a little about tinkering, RSS and other things related to computers!

      2. CynicalPsycho

        Beebplayer is dead, long live myPlayer

        Beebplayer for Android was indeed removed, but myPlayer for Android stepped in to fill it's shoes and it's up there on the Marketplace right now.

      3. Anonymous Coward

        RE: Wow, what a pile of fail

        "There is an official release of Flash for Android."

        Yeah, a cut-down version...

    2. Geoff Campbell Silver badge


      You fail.

      Android supports Flash in a number of different ways. Personally, I downloaded Skyfire from the app store, no hacking required. v2.2 of Android has Flash built in, if I recall correctly.

      Apple have been superceded in the phone market, they just don't realise it yet.


  26. Greg J Preece

    Missing the point

    All those saying that the BBC is not favouring a specific platform are missing an important point. Firstly, they have they thrown all their effort into developing for Apple platforms - remember that Android was around long before the iPad, and the iPad has a much smaller user base - fobbing us off with their excuse of "we'll make it later."

    On top of that, there *was* an excellent 3rd-party app for accessing both live and iPlayer streams. No profit was being made from it, and even after its developer offered the code for the app to the Beeb, they still shut it off. So they removed BeebPlayer from Android whilst barrelling ahead with an app for iPad, which is, let's face it, a niche product in this country.

    And did anyone see their so-called "report" on Apple on BBC Breakfast last week? That wasn't a report, it was an advert! A ten-minute Apple-is-amazing splooge, regurgitating Jobs' doublethink regarding the Judas Phone, promoting his products as much as possible, and actually trying to pretend that Apple not only invented smartphones, but apps as well.

    I've long said that the BBC needs a good whack across the back of the knees for their obvious and continuing promotion of Apple products, and this is just another example of why.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: Missing the point

      "Firstly, they have they thrown all their effort into developing for Apple platforms"

      No they haven't. They've revamped their news site completely. Try looking at it...

  27. Tigra 07

    Android running license payers?

    Cool, just gotta wait for it to come to the android store =]

    The Sun is available but that's not the same, especially if you want news the same day it is news

  28. Anonymous Coward

    RE: Hacked?

    "Android supports Flash in a number of different ways. "

    ...but not all the ways that are supported on the desktop versions.

    Which bits are missing? I'll bet it's not the bits that make it a buggy, bloated battery-drainer!

    Flash is on the verge of being superceded. Anyone who says otherwise is either a huge fanboi or still drives a horse and trap and thinks seeing a woman's ankle is unseemly.

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