technology

Best iPhone apps for keeping on top of the news

Flipboard 

Flipboard strives to repackage the best content on the web as mobile-centric digital magazines. Better yet, it gives you granular control over what news sources are included in each faux-publication. Essentially, you can use the app to create your dream magazine.

This beautiful newsreader app can also leverage content from social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. You decide which accounts you want to connect and choose from content categories such as technology, design, business and politics.

You can subscribe to individual blogs and sources using the red ribbon icon, or save specific articles for posterity in a personalized magazine. Above all, Flipboard offers a beautiful, clean reading experience with its trademark ‘flip’ animation between pages.

Circa

Circa is a relatively young app, but its treatment of news stories and streamlined interface makes it an incredibly exciting prospect. Instead of simply regurgitating articles from the Web, Circa uses a team of in-house editors to create new, bite-sized stories with only the essential facts, quotes and photos.

These are then isolated so only a single story segment is visible on-screen at any one time. The concise nature of each ‘chunk’ and the shorter length of Circa’s articles help you to burst through the news easily and efficiently.

In short, it’s news reimagined for mobile. The app has been built from the ground-up to help users who want to scan over the news in a short space of time. There’s only a handful of news categories for now, but we expect that roster to grow pretty quickly.

Pulse 

Pulse occupies a similar space to Flipboard, bringing you content from a multitude of different news outlets based on specific topics that you’re interested in. Supported categories include technology, gaming, women’s health and men’s fashion, among others.

These sections are then listed in a standard side bar, each of which contains a grid of tiny squares representing different articles. Each horizontal row represents a different publication and you can add your sources by scrolling down to the bottom of the screen.

A lot of information is crammed in here, but it’s a neat overview that gives you the ability to choose from a wide variety of stories. The reading experience is also top-notch, with a readable typeface and uncluttered design.

Zite

Zite wants to make the Web beautiful. The home screen shows a vertical feed of relevant articles with large, gorgeous photos underneath. It’s a joy to use, although you won’t be speeding through reams of newswires.

You can pick your topics and favorite news outlets, or ask for some suggestions based on your Pocket list, Twitter and Facebook accounts. The joy here is that you can go for really specific subjects; for me that included The Legend of Zelda and the PlayStation 4.

The app also improves its recommendations based on your reading habits. So the more you read, the smarter it gets. You can also search for any topic using the magnifying glass in the top left-hand corner of the screen, which means you’ll never be left craving an interesting article to read.

Google Currents

When you consider what Google is known for, Currents just doesn’t feature. Search, Gmail and Google Maps; these are the products that the technology giant is known for.

Google Currents is a solid app though. Content is displayed in a vertical feed similar to Zite, alongside a range of pre-determined publications under topics such as news, lifestyle, and sports in the sidebar. It doesn’t feel quite as flexible as Zite or Pulse – navigation just feels a little more convoluted – but it is still possible to look up and add custom publications.

Swiping left and right lets you switch between different publications within a category, while tapping the drop-down menu changes the section used by that particular website of blog. The formatting of each article is sleek and easily legible; you can also share each piece to Pocket, Instapaper and a handful of social networks.

About author

Mabel Petty is a veteran journalist who has spent the last 20 years working with newspapers, magazines and websites covering marketing, business, technology, financial services and a variety of other topics.
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