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Hands on with Flipboard for iPhone: Small screen success

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On the iPad(s aapl), few would deny that Flipboard is a category leader; its delivery of personalized, multi-source news and features is pretty hard to top. Now, the Flipboard team has brought that class-defining experience to the iPhone, in a way that makes perfect sense for the smaller screen.

This is still Flipboard

The app does a great job of telling you from the very first that it’s still Flipboard; it shares aesthetic sensibilities and principles of content organization with its big brother on the iPad. You won’t have to relearn the experience all over again for the iPhone, either, with the small exception of having to swipe up and down instead of left and right to navigate between stories.

This is different from Flipboard

Unlike Flipboard on the iPad, the iPhone version has to deal with a few limitations, the most significant of which being available screen real estate. It does so wonderfully, but refining the Flipboard experience to a point where it’s perfect for one-handed, casual navigation to quickly sift through and find stories of interest.

On the iPhone, Flipboard doesn’t even support landscape orientation, which actually works for the app since it’s clearly aimed at more casual browsing. One-handed operation is made simpler as a result, and buttons for sharing, starring and searching and interacting are all easily within reach. This is Flipboard for a hand-held device, and this guiding principle seems to be at work throughout the app.

For those new to Flipboard

If you haven’t tried out Flipboard on the iPad, then you should still try using it on the iPhone. Even if you’re not necessarily looking for the content discovery features the app itself offers, Flipboard really makes a great barebones Facebook and Twitter client; something the iPhone version especially brought home.

By signing in with your Facebook and Twitter credentials, you create specific channels for content from those sources. Browsing those channels is akin to checking out both social networks with much of the “noise” taken out of the equation. You can view your stream in a more linear fashion, making you much more likely to actually engage with others. At least, that’s my experience.

Channel surfing for your phone

Flipboard also does a great job of being a news reader for people looking for the ease of browsing found in a newspaper, but with the freedom to cull from virtually unlimited sources. Plus, you can add more targeted content vectors, too, thanks to partnerships with National Geographic, Wired and many more.

Flipboard has done a good thing with this free app, by not just settling for a straight port of its iPad experience to the smaller screen, but also by making sure the things we already love about the tablet version remain intact. Whether or not you’ve been a fan in the past, you’ll likely be one now. Don’t just take my word for it, though; Apple SVP Phil Schiller also lavished some rare love on this iPhone gem.

10 Responses to “Hands on with Flipboard for iPhone: Small screen success”

    • its own content filters are pretty good. I tend to go to Flipboard after cruising my normal RSS feeds, just to pick up stuff from some photo blogs like Flickr, Popular Science, National Geographic, Engadget etc. With lots of images, it feels more like reading a magazine than the RSS feeds do, with out the hassle of having to download a 500MB magazine issue. The ads rent too intrusive, and you cant complain about the price 8)