Flipboard update greatly improves this popular news app

November 8, 2014


Flipboard (free) has always been popular for reading news and following topics. The only downside is that it lacked any personalization. You got the topics you selected, but the app did not learn my favorite topics the way another news app — Zite — did.

Times change. Earlier this year Flipboard purchased Zite to get the other company’s smart personalization software, and a new Flipboard has been born, just now hitting the App Store.

The new app looks better, it’s easier to use, and it now has the kind of personalization that made Zite such a pleasure to use. When you launch the new app, you get more than 30,000 topics from which to choose. You can also search for topics not covered. Using the app I found a lot of the topics were right in line with what I wanted to read.

Flipboard has always followed a magazine-type presentation, and the new app stays with that. The re-design is most noticeable on the iPhone version, which adds a tab bar for enhanced navigation.

Looking at available stories involves swiping, or flipping up. Tap to read, then flip up again to go through the pages. It’s very fast and responsive. Once you are in a story, it can be marked to indicate you weren’t interested (a thumbs down) or you can save images to your camera roll. You can also open the story directly in Safari, email it, and send it to others via the usual social networks.

Flipboard combines human curation with the smart Zite algorithms to make sure you are getting what you want to read. You no longer have to build magazines with Flipboard, which I thought was a weakness. Now the app learns and delivers the content you want, while still supporting magazine-style groupings of information. Flipboard delivers ads that will hopefully be relevant to readers. Flipboard will also, if you select it, deliver a news summary for you at 7 A.M local time.

This is a much improved app that was already quite good. I’m still a big fan of Zite, but at some point I expect the Flipboard folks will sunset Zite, since much of the technology behind it has now been folded into Flipboard.

I’m excited about the changes, and using the app is a pleasure, especially on an iPhone. If you’ve used the app in the past but moved on, it’s worthy of a fresh look in this latest version.

Flipboard requires iOS 7 or later and it has been optimized for the iPhone 5 and the new iPhone 6 series

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