Comparison of iPad news reading apps

I wrote about how to make the news comes to you, so the natural next step is find a good tool to read / consume the news. While iPhone is my everyday mobile device, but to read news, iPad is really better. So I installed 4 iPad apps – Flipboard, Zite, MobileRSS and Twitter to find my ideal tool to read news; and here is the comparison – how I read an HBR news with the four applications.

Note that it is not an “evaluation report” as I believe each of us have different evaluation criteria and therefore this post will focus how I read the same news with different programs. Lastly, iPad is still not a good tool to read books, Kindle is much better, but it is another story.

Flipboard

Rated the best iPad application in 2010 and I think most of iPad users have this installed. To connect to the news, just select one of the predefined news sources or you can connect the apps to your Twitter account. Following is the screen shot of the news The Only Thing that Really Matters from HBR.

As you can see the apps strip off all the ads, headers and other elements but only show you the news . Of course you can see the original news if you “click” the source link but in essence, the presentation is pretty plain …

Zite

This apps’ tagline is “Personalized Magazine” and indeed you can feed in many news sources to it and also connect your Twitter feeds to it. One thing different from Flipboard is it does not support your Facebook friends’ feeds (yet). Following is the same news from HBR. As you can see the presentation format is pretty good. You can also “inform” the tool that you like this type of news or the source of the news (i.e. HBR in that case), then the program is smart enought to feed more news similar to that (in that case, business news) or from the same source.

MobileRSS

If your news sources are mainly website RSS but not Twitter and Facebook, then MobileRSS is also a good choice. One thing I don’t like much is the all black default color scheme (you can change it to other themes) and you will see some sponsor ads. See below …

Twitter

The last news apps is in fact the Twitter for iPad, and obviously the main news sources are your followers. Since many websites provide both RSS and Tweets, you therefore can use this to view many news. Unlike the above tools, however, it renders the HBR news like what a browser will do … in other words, you will also see the banner ads in the page; and you need to scroll more to see the whole news article.

Summary

All four tools are great for their own purposes, however, none of them are perfect to my purpose yet. If I have to choose, I think I will use Zite more …

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Author: Michael Yung

Michael possessed over 30 years of experience in Information Technology with focuses on complex application development, database technologies and IT strategy. He also spent the last 20 years in Internet technology, eCommerce development / operations, web usability, computer security and Public Key Infrastructure technologies.

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