I’m a sucker for RSS readers and I’ve been looking for a good one for my iPad ever since I received it. I tested the basic ones like Feedler, some desktop-like ones such as NetNewsWire (the best so far) and even the more graphically-oriented ones like Pulse, yet they’re all somewhat disappointing. Indeed, they either seem designed by people who never used an iPad, by people with less than 15 feeds, or they’re oversized iPhone apps. Well, I’m glad to announce that my search for the perfect RSS reader has finally came to an end today (at least for now) thanks to Reeder for iPad.
Before I get to what it does, let me tell you that Reeder is everything you want in an iPad app. It’s well designed, the controls are nicely thought-out, well placed and easy to reach. Reeder also uses tons of great (yet optional) gestures. As I said, Reeder is an RSS reader, more precisely a Google Reader client as it works exclusively with Google Reader. Reeder allows you to keep track of all your RSS news easily, but in a much more pleasant and efficient way than was previously possible. It looks great, has tons of animations, and you’ll definitely want to drop your old reader for this one very quickly. Reeder is very feature rich, with many ways to interact with it. That is, once you learn how to use it.
It was a shock at first for me to discover that I didn’t know how to use it intuitively. The interface doesn’t use the standard Apple guidelines you’re used to and it will take a bit of time to learn how to navigate through the app. I guess we’re getting a bit spoiled with all these apps that look identical. Anyway, for the first time I feel that a welcome screen with some basic instructions would have been helpful. Nevertheless, after a good 15 minutes (a long time for an app, a joke in classical software time) I think you can become a power-user.
Once set up (just enter your credentials), all your sources are displayed as separate icons/folders which you can pinch or tap to open. In landscape, this opens a more reader like format with the posts on the left and the content on the right. In portrait, the list of posts as well as the posts open in full screen and you can switch from the two views by swiping sideways. Jumping from post to post can also be done by swiping up and down.
The controls on the left will let you navigate through your unread posts, favorite posts, or all of them. Don’t be discouraged right away, as the view you’re looking for (i.e. all unread, sorted by source or date) is in there, you just have to find it the first time.
Here is some video footage I snagged from YouTube to give you a short overview of the app, I highly recommend Reeder for iPad: