Flipboard is one of the essential iPad apps. Drawing on links from your social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, and from pre-selected news sources, it creates a ‘social magazine’ that is lovely to look at and simple to use.
Translating that to the iPhone is no straightforward task. The smaller screen rules out the iPad version’s expansive layouts and the iPhone is used in a different way.
While the iPad is a ‘lean back’ device, the iPhone is ‘lean forward’. In other words, you sit down and relax with the iPad, spending half an hour catching up on reading, but your iPhone is something you use on the go, in spare moments here and there.
The Flipboard team have delivered the perfect adaptation of the app. It’s designed to be used with one hand – the phone in the palm of your hand while your thumb ‘flips’ the pages. This time the pages flip upwards, with the bottom half ‘folding’ over the top, making the app feel like a pocket notebook.
A new section, Cover Stories, brings together new material from across your sources, providing the ideal channel to skim through while you’re in a queue or on the bus. There are now Flipboard accounts too, so that iPad users can bring across their content.
Fitting the app’s ambition to provide you with something to read during small chunks of free time, Flipboard for iPhone is blazingly fast. Flipping through content is not just fast is wonderfully smooth too. It’s easy to forget all the layers of technology between thumb and content and start to believe that you are moving a physical object.
To see this for yourself, try slowly flipping up the bottom half of the page and then drag it back and forth. The response is immaculate. If it sounds like I’m gushing then, well, I probably am, but this is how iOS apps should feel.
Just tap on a story that you want to read and it appears instantly. If the story is from one of Flipboard’s partners then you’ll be able to ‘flip’ the pages too but if it’s not then you’ll get the version from the RSS feed. Another tap brings up social media stats, such as who has tweeted this link, and the option to add a comment.
It’s also possible to send links to Instapaper or Read It Later so that you can read them when you have more time or when you are offline. Once again, this fits the app’s mission – Flipboard isn’t expecting you to read long articles in this app.
Flipboard sets a new benchmark for iPhone news apps. It’s probably going too far to say that this is worth the price of an iPhone but it’s certainly a must-have for every iPhone owner.
Source: Daily Telegraph