iPad News Reader Applications with Google Reader Support
While Safari Web browsing, Mail and iBooks may be top killer apps on the iPad, News Readers are going to be awesome on the iPad. While they work pretty well on the iPhone today, they're going to be even better with the larger iPad screen and the new user interface controls. I'm making the assumption that all three of these applications will be upgraded for the iPad and get even better with time.
The most powerful news readers I've seen use and sync to Google Reader, rather than their own proprietary data store.
1) I've been using Phantom Fish's Byline (@phfish) for awhile now on my iPhone, so I'm a bit biased. But, after carefully reviewing the competition again - I still think it's the most powerful and intuitive choice. Byline, $3.99, does the basics well. It's relatively good at syncing while accepting input and its user interface is streamlined around common features. Yes, there's a handful of features I'd like them to add, but the lack of these extras doesn't take away from it being the most useful app of this field. Namely, ByLine only offers basic sharing and note taking features. It's missing Post to Twitter, Copy URL and Post to Instapaper, a handy mobile reader.
2) What ByLines is missing, Newsrack, formerly Newsstand offers for $4.99 - more sharing options. But, its interface is slightly more cluttered, slower and less intuitive. In an attempt to create some extra gee whiz user interface (like an actual news stand browsing mode), it loses its utility and simplicity. In fairness though, some people will possibly like this application better than ByLine. It runs a very close second.
"Newsstand solves this by incorporating pop-up exporting to almost anywhere. You can email full articles (including pictures) from within the application (no quitting to go to the mail app) or add to Instapaper, Delicious, Twitter, ReadItLater or just copy the URL, all from a pop-up screen. Better, this option persists when you browse out to websites, meaning you can navigate to a linked article and send it to Instapaper to read, say, in a bar later."
Wired also says Newsrack syncs better than Bylines. I was confused by the additional navigation options and found the application in general less responsive.
3) Finally, NetNewswire, by NewsGator, which offers a free ad supported version ($4.99 with no ads) is the third selection.
Overall, I wasn't too impressed with NetNewswire compared the ByLine and Newsrack. On the iPhone, it felt like it had too much space between items - and wasn't as usable. Some people may find this cleaner. On the iPad, perhaps with some improvement, the spacious aesthetics of this application may win out in the end.
A few last thoughts: With Apple Insider reporting that the New York Times is struggling how to price The Times iPad application - these applications create downward pricing pressure as many readers may be happy to use a universal feed reader and their Web browser as a primary news reading application. I still have some fears that sites like The Times may go too far and block web site browsing via iPad browsers via user agent strings.
I think it's important Google offer an oAuth interface since the company synchronized its logins such that most users are sharing their email passwords to use these phone applications. Not very secure. I think each of these applications should use oAuth with Twitter and Delicious, as they use Facebook Connect nicely. When the iPad and iPhone OS add multitasking, hopefully, these applications will make better user of Safari.
Quality news readers are going to make the iPad much more effective than the Kindle (which charges for RSS feeds because of its carrier relationship with Spring) and the lack of a working Web browser.