It has been said that information is power.
These days information is so readily accessible that almost anything can be searched out and discovered within seconds using our smartphones and tablets. Owners of the iPad can experience greater informational power by using a few key applications that are able to serve the latest and greatest news articles in a flash, without having to browse around multiple websites in Safari.
Three of the most popular and useful applications for reading the news on the iPad are Zite, Flipboard, and Editions by AOL. These three apps scour the Internet and return articles that create a personalized magazine that can be customized to fit the user’s interests.
While each app essentially performs the same task, they have each found a way to provide unique tweaks and features that keep iPad users entertained and coming back for more day after day.
Zite was released on March 9, 2011, and quickly gained favor in the eyes of many news enthusiasts. Fortunately for the Canadian company Zite, Inc., its innovative app gained so much popularity that it was recently acquired by CNN.
It can be said that Zite is a “smart app" because it will, over time, automatically learn what each user’s interests are based on the articles that are read. As it learns, Zite will serve more articles based on those interests.
Each user can help Zite learn faster by giving each article read a thumbs up or thumbs down in a side bar that is built into each page.
The magic behind Zite is that it will go out and grab news articles within preset or custom, user-created sections from all different sources on the Internet to present the most customized reading experience.
Zite has become a one-stop shop for all the latest news. Instead of browsing around several websites, iPad users can simply open Zite and be automatically presented with the news that is most relevant to them. Zite is currently available for the iPad only, but is expected to be released for other tablet platforms in the future.
Flipboard is an innovative app that helped pave the way for apps such as Zite. Rather than gathering articles from all over the Internet as Zite does, Flipboard allows the user to select favorite sites from the Internet that are loaded into a section on the homepage. The content from those sites are then integrated into the app’s magazine-like interface for a unique reading experience.
Flipboard integrates site content in a very clever way that gives it the feel of a physical magazine. There is even a fun little animation that simulates a physical magazine page turn with each swipe. After becoming accustomed to Flipboard’s interface, reading the same website content within Safari will seem like a flavorless experience.
One key feature that sets Flipboard apart is Facebook integration. After logging into Facebook through the app, Flipboard will take the user’s Facebook wall and transpose it to magazine form. This creates a new and interesting way to view Facebook. The app even gives the user the ability to “Like” and comment on status updates and pictures posted by friends. As there is currently no dedicated Facebook application for the iPad, Flipboard can be used as an alternative in the interim while Mark Zuckerberg decides on a release date for his official iPad app.
Flipboard was released on July 21, 2010, and was one of the first customizable news apps on the scene. It was named as Apple’s iPad App of the Year in 2010 and was also named one of the Top 50 inventions in 2010 by TIME Magazine.
Editions by AOL
Released on August 3, 2011, Editions by AOL is the new kid on the block. The user interface of Editions is one of the most unique and really gives the user a true, personalized magazine experience. Each day, the app will deliver a new “Edition” of a personalized magazine full of articles and news stories from user-selected topics.
Editions comes with several preset sections including Top News, Local News, Technology, Business, Entertainment, and Sports. More preset sections are available and can be added based on the user’s interests. Like Zite, Editions is a smart app that will learn over time what each user is most interested in and will serve up the most relevant articles.
The feature that is most unique about Editions is it integrates local news and weather based off geographic location of the iPad being used. Facebook integration is also available which informs the user of upcoming birthdays and other events.
Despite the beautiful interface and unique features, Editions lacks the ability to create custom content sections as Zite does. Also, Editions only presents a handful of articles within each section and displays fewer articles per page than Zite and Flipboard. This can be a drawback for those who prefer to view more content and headlines at once.
However, this can also be seen as a benefit to those who prefer smaller amounts of content per page, which creates a less distracting and more concise interface. All in all, Editions is a very well-built app and has received high reviews in the App Store.
Each of these three apps essentially performs the same task. Each user’s needs and preferences are left to decide which app is truly the most useful and entertaining. While these apps all deliver the news, the best news of all is that they are free in the App Store and can be accessed without advertisements.
-Article from KSL.com