iNews – Now The RSS Reader To Beat

On June 1, 2009

I have, admittedly, given a good bit of coverage to the RSS reader iNews.   I just like the news reader a whole lot and watching it evolve has been an absolute pleasure. It started out as a simple newsreader with basic functionality and a nice interface and has become a rather powerful newsreader that retains the simplicity of its early functionality or the complexity that comes with an advance mobile reader.

There’s another reason I’m such a fan of this application… I have never seen a developer who is more responsive to reader and reviewer input. For example, I e-mailed the developer shortly after one of the updates to suggest he added support for Read It Later. It showed up in the next update. And along the way I have been pushing hard with regard to the need for the application to support syncing with Google Reader. Each time I received not only an immediate response but a well considered rebuttal explaining why such syncing would slow the app too much. That is, I received such a rebuttal to the last time I pushed. That time he told me to wait and see what was coming. Well the new version of the application has just been released and it is now closer than ever to full sync with Google reader. It’s also on sale. Let’s take a look at the new version.

The application now offers two different modes. The simple mode maintains the application speed and ease-of-use. (For information on it take a look at some of our earlier posts on the application.)

The new Pro Mode offers a host of customization to make it work just right for you. You can determine whether or not you want to use motion navigation or just the buttons. You can determine whether or not you want navigation to be "left hand" friendly. (As a southpaw I cannot thank him enough for adding this feature in. I only wish the developers would do the same.)

Under the "General" tab you determine whether you want delete confirmations or not, whether you want to see the article count or not, whether you want sounds enabled or not, whether you want to show the navigation bar or not, and whether or not you want to lock the application in portrait. (I appreciate the ability to lock it in portrait since if you’re using an iPhone lying down it tends to flip back and forth to offer between portrait and landscape.)

You can also determine whether you want to automatically refresh your feeds each time application starts or not. I can’t imagine why you would want to do this with the choices there. You can also determine the default number of articles that are downloaded. This can be important in that it allows you to ensure that you will be able to see the most recent articles more quickly since the larger the number of the longer it will take to do the initial sync.

The Twitter functionality is far more developed in the new version of the application. It allows you to auto post articles, preview posts and even determine whether or not you want your signature to be included with the post. In addition to Twitter, the application now includes access to Instapaper, Facebook, and Read It Later. All of which allow you to share the articles that interest you most.

One of the nice features of the application is that it has an "auto scroll feature", which in this case is referred to as the "slideshow". A slide bar in the settings allows you to determine how quickly the slides change.

Finally, there is a feature that I’ve been looking for and, while not TOTALLY where I want it to be, it is enough to get me to leave NetNewswire  again (which I went back to using two weeks ago but have not enjoyed for a variety of reasons). The application syncs with Google Reader Starred items. Under the "Google Reader" heading you can determine how many articles to download. This setting allows you to find the right balance between getting the information you want and the delay that will occur while downloading. Tapping the "sync all feeds" button brings up the instruction to go into your subscriptions and determine which you want to have on the handheld.



Finally, when you start actually reading news articles you’re presented with large easy-to-use buttons along the bottom for navigation and a selection along the top with regard to how you want to actually see the article. You can choose just to see a summary, to see a mobile version purchasing the full version.

Below it is another row of navigation buttons which allow you to hide images (to increase speed), turn on the slideshow functionality, or turn on "tilt scrolling" which makes reading a long article even more convenient.

The result is that iNews now has the nicest interface, the easiest navigation, and the most features in RSS reader by far. I like the application from the beginning but now I’m a huge fan. It’s definitely worth a look in the fact that it’s currently on sale for $.99 makes it an absolute steal. Get it HERE.


For another perspective on iNews take a look at Doug’s review of the previous version over on Just Another Mobile Monday.