Is Apple preparing to announce an RSS reader for the iPhone? There’s definately something going on over at reader.mac.com, but it’s kind of hard to tell exactly what it is.
I personally would love a dedicated RSS reader. RSS is by far my preferred method of getting updates to my favorite sites. If Apple does announce an RSS reader, it’s a good bet it will sync with your RSS bookmarks in your desktop version of Safari, which would be unfortunate because Safari is a terrible RSS reader (at least for my workflow).
Hey Newsgator, I’m going to be looking at you to give me a way to sync my NetNewsWire feeds with iPhone!
I’m sure all will be come clear tomorrow.
UPDATE (6.30.07): Now that I have an iPhone I can tell you what this is. It is an RSS reader, but not quite like I expected. If you’re browsing the web on your iPhone, and you click an RSS feed link, you’ll be directed to this site so you can view the feed. Basically, Apple did not build RSS functionality into the version of Safari that’s running on the iPhone. Their solution was to redirect you to a web app that can read the feed. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the .Mac service. Nor is it any kind of feed organizer. I’m betting a future version of Safari will have RSS support built in, and this site will go away.
6 thoughts on “Apple’s RSS Reader for iPhone?”
How is Safari a terrible RSS reader? I’ve used NetNewsWire and Vienna for significant periods of time and I find Safari to be as capable as either of them.
I probably should have said that Safari is a terrible RSS reader, for me. It doesn’t suit my workflow at all.
For me, a good RSS reader uses a 3-pane view, so you can see your feeds, the headlines, and the stories all at the same time, without leaving a single environment.
The way Safari does feeds, is pretty much identical to how it does regular bookmarks. You have to go into your bookmarks, and double-click the feed to see the headlines/stories. In doing so you leave the bookmarks area. It’s more like you’re actually visiting each individual site, the only difference is the formatting has been removed. If you want to switch to another feed, you have to go back into your bookmarks first.
For me, there’s no real time-savings with Safari. It’s the same number of steps, and disjointed flow as if you were just visiting the sites in your regular bookmarks. With a dedicated reader, like NetNewsWire, I can view everything in a single environment, and scan hundreds of feeds / stories very quickly.
The only way that Safari handles feeds like bookmarks is that you add them in the same way. However, you can definitely open multiple RSS feeds at once: I’ve been doing it ever since Safari 2 came out.
Here’s how I use Safari: I keep my RSS feeds in a single folder in the bookmarks bar. I also keep them separated into general categories inside this folder. Then, if I want to see all RSS feeds, I just click on the folder in the bookmarks bar, and select “View All RSS Articles”. It shows every single RSS article from every single RSS feed in one big long list which I can browse at my leisure. You can absolutely see your feeds, your headlines and the stories all at the same time without leaving a single environment, and without having to switch back to the Bookmarks view to change feeds.
When I don’t want to see all of my RSS feeds, I simply click the folder in the bookmarks bar, drill down into a category folder that I’ve set up, and then again select “View All RSS Articles”. Then I can see all articles of just a category that I’ve set up. Or, I can also drill down another level and select an individual feed, and only see entries from that one feed.
You don’t even need to do that; if you’ve already shown all RSS articles for one category folder you’ve set up, you can filter the current view just to show articles from one feed temporarily. Then when you’ve found the article you want, you can switch back to viewing all of the feeds at once again.
Safari does feeds almost exactly like any other feed reader, and you can use the article length slider to duplicate summary views, headline views, or unified view.
I think you just didn’t realize that you could do that because you’re trying to access RSS feeds exclusively from the bookmarks view.
Well, I don’t know if I would go as far as to say it does feeds almost exactly like any other feed reader, but that’s cool that you’ve found a way that works for you. I think I’ll stick with a dedicated reader for now.
Well how is it not almost exactly like any other feed reader?
Well, I don’t want to spend all day on this but here’s my typical view in NetNewsWire.
On the left is my list of feeds. I can instantly see all my feeds, and know how many unread articles each has. I can manually group them together (in folders or just next to each other) or I can set up Smart Groups (kind of like Smart folders in the Finder), where all stories will be automatically grouped together based on definable criteria. I can also have groups within groups within groups and choose to view all or some of those groups together.
Top-right is the list of headlines for selected individual feeds or groups. I can instantly see which ones I’ve read and which ones I haven’t. I can manually mark them as read or unread. I can flag them for followup later, and they’ll stay in the list until I remove the flag, even if the item is no longer in the feed. By selecting a headline, I get the full story below. I can do this on a per story basis, or choose to view the full story for all headlines (for individual feeds or groups) in one continuous list.
I can send audio/visual enclosures straight to iTunes. I can define how often the feeds get updated. I can see how many unread items I have in NNW by looking at the doc. I can republish a story to my blog at the click of a button. The list goes on and on and on…
With a dedicated RSS reader you have far greater control over how you organize and view the massive amount of information that is coming in. Although you may be able to set up Safari in a way that kind of works, it just doesn’t have the same power and flexibility that a good dedicated RSS reader has.
Just my 2 cents :)