As you know, I read a lot of blogs. And I’ve added Tumblr to my list of social media platforms to follow (for entirely personal reasons). I recently switched my iPad case, and I found I wanted to do more on my iPad than the computer, so I went in search of a good Google Reader app. I can access it through the browser, but I don’t really like it.
I’d also been reading subscribing to a New York Times Kindle blog, and a fortuitous series of events added a new app to my iPad home screen.
I’d heard of Flipboard, but I’d never tried it, and it was the highest rated RSS reader I could find in the App Store. The reviews made it sound like it would integrate well with Google Reader, so I downloaded it.
I was adding feeds, and I noticed Tumblr. Cool! The Tumblr iPad app is good, but if I could reduce the number of apps I checked each day, I was okay with that.
Then I noticed that the New York Times digital subscription was available through Flipboard, and I went looking. I liked it on my Kindle, but you know me. Always ready to try something new. I did a bit of hunting and discovered that the Times’ “Top News” was available free through Flipboard. I created an account and logged in through Flipboard. What did I see? Exactly the same articles I’d been reading on my Kindle, only with pictures. I was sold.
Other than lots of feeds, what is good about the app? It’s gorgeous, in either landscape or portrait mode. You turn pages with a swipe, and the page turn animation is a nice “flip.” It’s an awful lot like turning newspaper pages. It’s a simple animation, but it’s intensely satisfying.
I can get Google Reader, Google+, Tumblr, the New York Times and some generic news feeds. I can also login to Twitter and Facebook if I wanted to, but I haven’t added them. Each feed opens into a magazine-like page with images and an excerpt of the article. Usually, there’s 2-4 excerpts per page. Tap the one you want to read, and you open the full article.
Yes, there are ads. But they are full-page magazine-style ads that are easy to flip past. They are attractive and don’t detract from reading any more than ads in a magazine, either print or digital. They could change them up a bit. I usually see the same three or four ads each day, but mostly I just flip past and keep on reading.
You can share articles on Twitter, Facebook, via email and probably other ways I haven’t explored yet. My favorite “share” feature is “Read Later.” You can set up either Pocket or Instapaper as your default “Read Later” service, and Flipboard will send the article to either service. I would prefer if you could set up both and select when you send an article, but I have it set to Pocket, and that works well enough. The New York Times updates their feed several times a day, so I use the send to Pocket feature to save an article for reading later. Then I don’t have to worry if the Times rotates it out.
It’s a great app, and I highly recommend it. It works on the iPhone also, but the full screen of the iPad is where it really shines.