RSS State of the Union, 2009

A day ago I posted a quick survey to Twitter about the state of RSS on iPhone. Over a hundred people responded with pretty much the same answers:

There is currently no 'good' RSS application on iPhone. There's a clear demand for a really sweet looking, fast, and easy to use news reader that syncs with Google Reader. Those who said they don't use an RSS reader on iPhone said it was for want of an acceptable, native client.

Most people have settled on Byline as their news reader, and there are a lot that just use Google Reader through Safari.

Quite a few people mentioned that they want a news reader that is more like a good Twitter client (although, you could say the response base was biased).

Roughly $5 seems to be the general consensus regarding what a good RSS reader should cost, with some people saying they would never pay for an RSS reader and even some saying they'd pay over $10. Certainly interesting information for anyone pricing their applications.

Only one person mentioned they'd like feed searching, but the majority did specify that they want caching for offline viewing.

A built-in browser and attachment viewing is also ranking heavily among wanted features.

Interestingly, several people said that they would absolutely hate if the app adds an 'unread' badge on SpringBoard. I understand that myself, as I hate the unread badges, but it's nice to see I'm not alone.

Those whom mentioned a landscape feature said they'd want the ability to disable any landscape modes entirely, so that they can easily read when not standing/sitting up. Not one person said they'd like a landscape mode for reading.

Finally, Instapaper, Twitter and Facebook integration were mentioned several times, as well as in-app e-mailing of articles.

Useful results, and it shows a clear market for a fresh news reader. I can certainly add that to my 'ToDo' list of possible iPhone projects :-) Hopefully this data is useful to other developers and iPhone users.


  1. Thanks for the survey! I guess I didn't give that much in-detail answers, but yes your summary covers it all!

  2. I am for a new quality rss feed app, but I strongly disagree with people saying that there no good rss apps available. Both Feeds and Newsstand are fast apps, have google reader integration for quite a while, work in landscape mode, ability to share articles with social networks and even have the ability to turn of the badge, something that exists also for quite a while now.
    As I said, great to hear another quality app may be in the works, but there are already very good ones, at least two of them.

  3. Push Notification - This is the only thing that would make me switch from byline