For quite a while now, there seems to have been quite a misleading concept beginning with the statement “RSS is dead.” No doubt, if you use Twitter, Facebook and the Internet in general for your daily news reading then you’re most probably going to be familiar with RSS. We’re currently in the midst of a technology and media ecosystem that’s changing rapidly right before our eyes, and it’s becoming clearer as each day goes by how the way we read news is changing.
Tools like Twitter and Facebook have, in a way, spoiled us with how we live our lives–that’s safe to say. Between a combination of RSS, Twitter, and social magazine apps like Flipboard and Zite, people no longer need to navigate directly to their favourite news website to catch up on recent events and truly haven’t done for quite a while, but it’d be erroneous to completely discount RSS in 2012. That was made clear today by the release of popular iPhone RSS client, Reeder.
First released in 2009, Reeder has remained the ‘cream of the crop’ in terms of RSS readers on the iPhone. The way its developer, Silvio Rizzi, captured the art of reading RSS on an iPhone was unlike its competition–Reeder didn’t only serve its purpose as an RSS client, Reeder perfected it. Reeder allowed users to enjoy reading, and certainly in my case, made me want to read more. It has always seemed to me that Reeder has remained the best solution for reading RSS on-the-move, and today’s release of version 3.0 has completely solidified that.
What makes Reeder so great is how Rizzi made Reeder’s users feel comfortable using the app. Probably most iconic for its pale, off-grey background, Reeder has ingeniously removed the hustle and bustle of the Internet like adverts and, in some cases meagre design, to make reading both short and long-form reading feel a breeze. Reeder delivers your articles from your subscriptions three ways–either by all items, unread or your ‘starred’ articles in Google Reader–allowing you to easily distinguish on what you feel like reading at that time. Reeder also caters for both directions too in how it allows you to essentially ‘manage’ your subscriptions and gives those who have many subscriptions to effortlessly swipe an article to mark it as read. Although this isn’t new to 3.0, I believe it makes Reeder stand out from the crowd momentously because, you know, I bet you’ve heard, “Over x amount of articles to read in RSS!” If you’re like me however and use RSS differently, I subscribe to just five feeds; I appreciate the quality rather than the quantity.
Specifically new to 3.0 is Reeder’s added functionality for a service called Fever. Fever is a clever service which uses ‘Hot Links’ to offer you a more relevant and personal reading experience. Along with Fever, Reeder 3.0 has also added deeper integration with read-it-later service Readability. Reeder allows the user to differentiate between their Google Reader, Fever and Readability accounts at its main menu and is quite neat, in my opinion. Relatable to Readability, 3.0 now presents all of your articles in the style of Readability itself and makes your experience with Reeder far more subtle on the eye.
The most appealing feature of Reeder 3.0 for me however is how much more alluring the user interface has become, and similarly, the user experience. Reeder no longer serves you with black status bars at the top and bottom of each article for navigation and sharing. The article has become very much more centric in 3.0; navigation and sharing now offered in the form of detached, semi-transparent sepia bars instead. Within this, Rizzi has also included ways for you to adjust the text size and line height and can be accessed by tapping the ‘aA’ icon that sits in the top right-hand corner in the article view. Gesturing is also a major part of Reeder 3.0–now giving users the ability to pinch to view images full size, swipe left and swipe right to either go back to the main article menu or visit the in-app browser as well as two finger swipes (either up or down) to mark items above and below as read.
Some of Reeder 3.0’s minor but pleasing tweaks are how it now allows the user to modify their Google Reader subscriptions in-app. In 2.0, any changes–whether it be adding or deleting feeds–had to be made directly through Google’s own web interface. If you’re one who enjoys swapping in and out different feeds, you’ll be grateful for this. Also, sharing has been modified with Buffer and QUOTE.fm both being added whilst Facebook has been removed. Don’t sweat about Facebook though–it’s said to be coming back soon.
Out of all the RSS readers that now live on the App Store (try a search for ‘RSS’–seriously), I feel that Reeder is still, and will remain, the most complete RSS solution on the iPhone. It’s beautiful and it’s efficient and costs just $2.99. Favour yourself and try it.