3 OF A KIND: iOS news apps

Danny Gorog
4 January, 2013
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App Guide

Consuming news is one of the most popular uses of an iPhone. Newsreaders let you aggregate headlines from many sources (including social networks and official news sites) and consume them in a convenient, easy-to-read format.



Summly Limited


Summly provides the latest news in a 400-character summary, automatically generated for quick browsing.

According to its developers, “Summly uses an algorithm built with NLP and Artificial Intelligence technology to analyse text and automatically summarises the most relevant pieces of news, based on the topics, keywords and news sources you prefer.”

To me Summly feels more like a Windows Mobile-style app. The interface is very square and linear and doesn’t quite feel natural on my iPhone.

There’s also no clear way of navigating. Instead, Summly relies on left/right/up/down swipe gestures for navigation. It reminds me of another iOS app call Clear. It’s hard to work out how to use, and I think that works against what could otherwise be a good app that provides easy to digest content.

Luckily Summly is free so if you’re curious download it for yourself and try it out.





iPHONE & iPAD Free

Flipboard was one of the first newsreading apps available for iOS and is still the most popular. In fact, Flipboard was Apple’s iPad App of the Year for 2011 and is a must- have app for your iOS device.

Flipboard, as the name suggests, is how you navigate the app. On the iPad you swipe left to right to browse stories. On the smaller iPhone screen you swipe up and down to navigate.

Flipboard lets you create a personalised magazine out of news sources, social networks and even photos and videos from sites like Instagram and YouTube. Flipboard also provide a curated list of articles and sources available in the Content Guide.

Unlike other news apps, many news sites, like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, provide a special Flipboard formatted feed to ensure that articles look just right in Flipboard. You can easily share any article you find in Flipboard back out to various social networks.


Circa News


Circa 1605


Circa App is similar to Summly in that it aims to condense long complex articles into bite-sized chunks more suited to consume on the iPhone.

Unlike Summly, which relies on an automated algorithm to provide the news, Circa has set up its own dedicated editorial team to curate the news and break it up into small bite-size pages.

One of the advantages of this approach is that with Circa you can ‘follow’ the news. This means that whenever there is additional information, Circa editors can add to the article and push out the update. If you are subscribed to the topic you’ll receive a push notification and be able to view the extra information. It’s quite handy.

Circa is also a beautifully designed app and, unlike Summly, conforms to the iOS interface guidelines so navigation is easy and obvious. As with Flipboard, Circa provides an easy way to share articles via Facebook, Twitter or email.

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