News Is Looking Good On The iPhone All of A Sudden

The iPhone is now better equipped than ever to present news of the day, thanks to the recent launch of two new apps (both already popular on the iPad), Flipboard and CNN-owned Zite.

According to Fast Company, Flipboard, like Zite, makes it very easy to read collected content from all your favorite publications.

Time helps explain the differences between the leading players in this space:

In some respects, Zite is an awful lot like Flipboard. Both programs pull in stories from a bevy of news sites and blogs, and weave them together into an addictively browsable, continuously updated package. But Zite is also fundamentally different from Flipboard. It uses your activity on Facebook or Twitter to help it begin to figure out what topics you’re interested in, so it can create sections about them. Then it analyzes your use of the app to fine-tune its story selections. (You can also add sections manually.)

Flipboard, by contrast, relies heavily on the links your social-network friends share, and allows you to add sections for feeds from specific sites and services, something which Zite doesn’t allow. It’s just now beginning to add the sort of algorithmic story-selecting technology that’s at the heart of Zite.

Evan Doll, Flipboard cofounder, told Fast Company, “Every industry, every type of business we think about needs to be fundamentally reinvented in the face of social.”

From a design perspective, these two readers/aggregators are both pretty sweet, making the reading experience on the small screen a pleasure, not a chore. But what about the algorithm as editor aspect of this? Do you want to be fed your daily news by a machine capable of solving complex equations, or by a human being with taste and a touch?



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.