So you own an iPhone, and you want to know what the best apps for Apple’s smartphone are, naturally enough. After all, the reason that many folks choose Apple is for its famous app ecosystem.
Recently, we looked at the best Android apps across a number of articles, splitting them up into different categories such as utilities, reference and so forth (see the final article in that series here, which has links to all the others in the introduction).
And over the last week and a half, we’ve been doing the same thing with the iPhone. We’ve already looked at the best reference apps, productivity apps, utilities, communication apps, iPhone games, and hobby apps, and now, in this final article in the series, we’re going to look at news and reading apps.
Note that if you don’t want to follow such an in-depth examination of iPhone apps, and would rather see just a short summary of the most important software, you can simply check out our 10 essential iPhone apps article.
Furthermore, some of these apps cost money. If you’re not keen on spending, and would rather look at a list of the best free apps, then see our Top 30 must-have free iPhone apps.
Finally, if you know of a great app that we haven’t covered, please tell us about it in the comments section below. If you have time, give us the full name of the app, price, and a short description so other readers can learn about your favourites, too.
Okay, so without any further ado, let’s get on with looking at the best in news and reading apps, which includes the likes of Kindle, Feedly, and the trusty Beeb app.
By the way, if you want to download an app, simply click on the title, which links to the app in iTunes.
Among all the news apps for the iPhone, the BBC's has one of the best interfaces – it’s clean, with relevant headlines, good photos, and no advertisements. (Whether you agree with its angles and choice of coverage is another matter). There’s no disputing the fact that the Beeb has correspondents in every corner of the globe, covering some varied and widespread topics. Another perk of this app is that you can elect to view some news in other languages, such as Urdu, Arabic, and two kinds of Chinese.
RSS reader Feedly delivers the content you want from your favourite websites straight to your iPhone. It's also set to benefit considerably from the demise of Google Reader, which will be shut down at the start of July, with Feedly moving to cater for “Reader refugees” and promising a seamless migration from Google Reader to its service. At any rate, Feedly is an excellent RSS reader, and you can read more about it in our full review.
Flipboard (an app initially designed for the iPad) curates content from your social networks and web partners (think periodicals, blogs, etc) based on your interests, and turns them into stunning magazine-like digital pages. The app is free to download and requires a free user account. Flipboard absolutely shines on the iPad, taking advantage of swiping gestures with both visual and interactive grace. It's still elegant on the iPhone, but a little tight.
If Kindle and Nook don't tickle your fancy, Apple has its own little online bookstore where you can download and save novels, magazines, newspapers, and other reading material – and yes, many of the books and periodicals are free! iBooks, a personal digital library, works on the iPad as well, so you can browse for books on the go from your phone and save them to read on the tablet later.
If you read a lot, Instapaper helps you in two ways. Firstly, it strips out some of the annoying ads, images, and extra junk on a web page so that it's easier to read on a small screen. Secondly, it saves web pages and content for you to read later by downloading a simplified version of them (again, stripped of junk). Read newspaper articles, blogs, and other online content – even when you don't have a signal – when they're saved to Instapaper.
Read books, magazines, and newspapers right on your iPhone without ever buying an e-reader. The Kindle app gives you access to hundreds of thousands of books – many of which are free – and a pile of different newspapers and magazines.
Anti-Amazon book lovers might prefer an app from Barnes & Noble for reading on their iPhones, namely the Nook app. Nook and Kindle do largely the same thing (give you access to an impressive library of books, newspapers, magazines, and other things to read), although their interfaces and experiences are different. Whether you like Amazon or B&N is largely a matter of personal preference. The Nook app feels a little more graceful in its design, whereas the Kindle app looks more utilitarian.
News reader Pulse brings together all the stories you want to read. The free app lets you choose and share the stories you care about, from thousands of news sources, blogs, and social networks. It offers a much more streamlined approach to reading content online on a tiny screen, though it's not quite as beautifully laid out as Flipboard. If you prefer a more standardised experience, though, with less pizzaz, Pulse is a great option.
StumbleUpon, the site that helps you explore your interests widely across the web and find web pages you might not have discovered otherwise, has put its love of discovery on Apple's smartphone with a StumbleUpon iPhone app. This app is a compelling and cerebral plaything, although the tight dimensions of the iPhone’s screen hold it back a touch. For more details on this offering, see our full StumbleUpon review.