Although Twitter is fast becoming one of the best ways to find out when your favourite sites are updated, RSS still has a major role to play. Many of us subscribe to a number of different news feeds to easily keep track of various websites easily.
The iPhone offers the perfect mobile platform for reading news on-the-go, and a number of different RSS apps are available – either for free, or for a small fee. We’ll be focusing mainly upon RSS readers that sync with Google Reader, as it seems to have become a popular central point for managing a set of RSS feeds.
Byline is a highly regarded RSS reader that fully syncs two-way with Google Reader, and also allows you to download items for offline reading (including their inline media). It organises feeds well and has a simple interface for browsing different articles.
I’d definitely recommend this as a reliable solution if you’re happy to fork over a few dollars.
Recommended by a number of our readers on Twitter, Reeder is a great looking solution for reading the news. It supports Google Reader syncing, and you can easily share articles to Delicious/Twitter, or save them for later reading in Instapaper.
The user interface is the real selling point here, and I’d recommend taking a look at a few screenshots to decide whether it wins you over!
Although NetNewsWire is still a popular desktop client for the Mac, the iPhone version hasn’t received quite the same warm welcome. Though I find it to be an excellent solution, others regularly note problems with syncing and performance.
It’s worth considering, and offers a simple solution that syncs well with the desktop counterpart via Google Reader.
A slightly unimaginative name, but Feeds is a decent app for basic Google Reader syncing and news reading. It doesn’t have the polish of Byline, but the ability to fully manage (add/remove/edit) feeds is welcome.
There are a wide range of options for sharing or reading articles later, but I feel that the interface could use a little more thought and refinement.
Whenever I mention RSS solutions, I can’t help but come back to Fever. It’s a web based piece of software (that you need to host yourself), but offers a really different and useful way to organize feeds and pick out important stories.
It comes with a great iPhone user interface, but doesn’t quite have the responsiveness you’d hope for from a native app. Certainly worth checking out if you’re technically-minded and are happy to try something different.
The defining feature of Newsstand is their interesting use of a newspaper rack as the interface for quickly skimming articles. This could be really appealing, or slightly off-putting, depending upon your taste. Theme support allows for even further customization of how the app looks.
The latest version has a faster sync option for Google Reader that doesn’t download every item – just the most recent for each group.
Fast and comprehensive syncing is the key with MobileRSS, along with an interesting search feature to easily find an RSS feed to subscribe to. It also ticks all the boxes of sharing articles with others, or saving them for later through a service such as Instapaper.
A solid all-rounder, that comes in slightly cheaper than some of the other competing apps.
If you’re happy to settle for a web application rather than a native piece of software, Google’s own iPhone optimized web app is a great place to start. It keeps improving with time, and gives you a simple interface to your RSS feeds and news.
Functionality remains fairly simple, and it doesn’t have many of the advanced options offered by dedicated iPhone apps.
I hope that one of the above options seems suitable for your needs. They’re all good, and each excels in a different area. If I had to pick two to recommend, I would probably go for either Reeder or NetNewsWire – I’m sure you’d be happy with either.
I’d be interested to hear what your preference is, and whether you’re finding that RSS is becoming less important with tools such as Twitter. Feel free to let me know your thoughts!