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TUAW First Look: AUDIOPRESS for iPhone



AUDIOPRESS is a new app and free audio digest service available on iPhone that is designed to create a custom "radio stations" for you to listen to on your device. You add AudioArticles, "MyUpdates," Podcasts, and Radio Stations to a playlist, then the information is streamed to you on demand.

AudioArticles are professional audio recordings of print articles. At the time I was testing the app, the AUDIOPRESS website showed only one source -- the Associated Press -- and that source wasn't working. But the idea is great; any time you want to hear short news bites, you listen to the channel and get the latest news in less than three minutes.

"MyUpdates" will be other, personalized audio updates. There's only one source right now: the local weather updates for U.S. cities from the National Weather Service. You can add the update to your list by city name, zip code, or current location, then receive a frequently updated, 15-second current weather brief and forecast.

Podcasts are... podcasts. You can either import your own podcast subscriptions from iTunes or add them from within the app. I was happy to see that the TUAW Talkcast shows up in the list, and of course, I added it to my playlist. There are a lot of different podcast categories available, with "Mac Fanatics" being one of them. Cool!

Radio Stations consist of live streaming radio broadcasts. Once again, you can either choose from pre-selected streams (NPR, ESPN, etc.) or have local stations appear on the list. I was not happy to see that the only two local stations in the area that were listed were an obnoxious sports talk radio station and the campus radio station for the University of Northern Colorado.

I like the concept of AUDIOPRESS, but the content at launch is minimal. When there's only one source of AudioArticles -- the one part of AUDIOPRESS that I was most interested in -- that's pretty weak. Likewise with MyUpdates. It would be nice for me to get a local news update in three minutes or less through AUDIOPRESS, but for now it's not going to happen. The Podcasts work well, but I already listen to them through the iPod app.

Unless the AUDIOPRESS folks can get the huge number of radio stations that are available through apps like Wunder Radio (US$6.99), I'm not going to be using the new app to listen to radio on my iPhone. Wunder Radio gives me local NOAA weather radio streams, emergency scanner streams, and I can even listen to local railroad radio traffic if I was that desperate for entertainment.

This was a pre-release version of the software that I was using, so I'm hoping that AUDIOPRESS adds useful content quickly. If you haven't looked at the gallery of screenshots yet, be sure to take a look and check out the user interface for this app.

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