I’ve stated before here at theipadfan.com that I am an avid news reader. My iPad is filled with news sources and news apps. Applications like the NY Times, NPR, USA Today, Newsy, and The Associated Press are app specific news sources that I use daily. I also love using RSS feeds to corral all the sites I use for news into a single location. On my desktop I use Google Reader, and I love it. A little while ago I reviewed NewsRack and stated it was a great RSS reader for the iPad, which it is, and I still use it everyday. I however like to give myself options. Thus why I now also use Pulse.
What is Pulse ($3.99)? It’s an RSS reader…but it’s easily the most beautiful reader out there. Want some snazziness with your news? Here is your app! Pulse is what getting news on the iPad should be…beautiful, hands-on, and visual.
A couple of Stanford graduate students got together and decided that reading news on the iPad should be different from reading news on your laptop or desktop. What is boring and mundane, even if it is informative, is exciting and new using Pulse. Right now users can add up to 20 RSS feeds (the ability to add more will come) to the reader. Adding feeds is as simple as can be. Users can choose from a predetermined group that comes loaded on Pulse, can search by keywords, or you can login to a Google Reader account and select any of the feeds subscribed to.
Navigating through Pulse is a dream. Each feed shows up on the Pulse dashboard as a tabbed row with the name of the feed listed on the tab. Posts are then shown as squares in the row starting with the most recent and moving to the right. Users can move to older posts by scrolling to the right and can read the full version of the text by pressing the post itself. While video is not yet supported (please!), it looks amazing and makes the news completely interactive. Moving from the “text” view to the “web” view of a story or feed is simple and fast, and there are icons that allow one to share articles via E-mail, Facebook and Twitter. One of the most easily overlooked but great features of Pulse is the ability to rename a feed. When using RSS in Google Reader I tend not to care about what the names of the actual feeds are, makes no difference to me. However, when that name is used as the heading of a row, it can look rather ugly. Pulse gives users the ability to rename their feeds…make them more recognizable and yet again make the news page dashboard look amazing!
A word of caution. The more feeds you add (again up to 20) the longer it takes to load. Hopefully the developers will find a way to speed up the loading process and get the video support added. Right now there is only an iPad version, but one for the iPhone is said to be in the works and I am waiting with open arms for that! Also, I’d like to see the addition of tabs at the bottom to allow for categories. That way I can group my sports feeds into a tab, my technology feeds into a tab, and so forth. This would allow each tab to load quicker (there would be less feeds per tab), keep things more organized, and the way this application is presented wouldn’t be hindered by it at all.
For the money, Pulse is an application that should make it on to many iPad Home Screens…I know it’s a keeper on mine!
Visit the alphonsolabs website for more info!