Sneak Peak of Reeder for the iPad

After whining subtly complaining about not getting the sneak peek at Reeder for the iPad, we managed to score a beta preview last week from developer, Silvio Rizzi. After five minutes, I was hooked. Reeder for the iPhone [App Store, $2.99] is my favorite pocket reader and, without a doubt, Reeder is the best news reader for the iPad. The developer claims this to be a beta, but this app feels more complete than some version 2 apps I’ve tested. 

The default view for an article is simply perfect, most times more attractive than the site’s own look. How can you not want to read something that looks like this?

Silvio didn’t bother with just the tired old up and down arrows when viewing an article. Instead Reeder allows you to scroll past the end of the story and you see a nice little arrow flip down letting you know if you let up, you’ll automatically advance to the next article. This trick works in both landscape and portrait mode. Speaking of portrait mode, since the list of articles is not available in this mode, you simply slide the story to the right to return to the article list. 

Reeder offers full syncing with Google Reader, and offers all of the sharing options you could want. In the settings — which are in the settings app, not Reeder — you can choose which sharing options you’d like to see. The sharing popup is available using the common “send to” icon at the top, but also by tap-holding any link.

Unlike its competition, Reeder displays the main feeds using images of pages. Single feeds look like a single page, grouped feeds look like several sheets of paper. Feeds with an apple-touch-icon.png (minimum 120×120 pixels) really stand out. The unread flag on the individual feeds is a particularly nice touch. I prefer it to the simple number you see on a group.

I believe there were some complaints with the original version of Reeder for the iPhone, so the developer has added a setting for enabling “high contrast.” In high contrast mode, the text becomes a tad darker in the articles list. I think it’s harder to quickly discern the read and unread articles using the high contrast setting, so I prefer the standard view where the unread articles really standout.

Reeder has a high touch-ability factor. Everything you touch causes something to react in a beautiful and fluid way, begging you to touch more. For example, when you change from the reader to the in-app browser, the top toolbar becomes visible, but unlike every other app we’ve seen, the toolbar beautifully slides down into view. I almost missed the pinch to zoom options for opening or closing a feed. I found myself wishing for more unread stories all day, just for an excuse to use Reeder. 

Reeder’s toolbar is different than any other iPad app, and while going against convention is usually a bad idea, Reeder’s execution is so does flawless the user doesn’t have to relearn how to user their iPad in order to navigate through the app.

According to Reeder’s twitter feed, the app was being submitted to Apple over Memorial weekend, and Silvio says the price will be “fair.” When it becomes available, we will put this one down as a must buy.

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