Flipboard: A Must-have Social Magazine App For iPad

When Flipboard first released for the iPad, it appeared to be the ultimate solution to turn iPad into an interactive newspaper. Unfortunately, upon further use, it just did not have the content integration to make it a viable solution.

That was in the past. After numerous updates, it has improved by leaps and bounds and has replaced many sources of news outlets for its users, and went as far as to win Apple’s iPad App of the Year for 2010. Read on to see how it gives your news and more importantly, why people are loving it.

What’s Flipboard all about?

The best part of Flipboard is that it is everything you care about, laid out beautifully. When you create your Flipboard account, you basically add news feeds for it to pull in. You can also bring in social networking feeds, like Facebook and Twitter, as well as your entire Google Reader feed, and read it all like a magazine.

Flipboard Magazine Viewer

Design

Flipboard is designed to make you feel like you’re flipping through a magazine. When Flipboard starts, you’ll be greeted with an image from one of your feeds, giving you a quick glimpse into what may be in your news at that moment. For example, the Golden Gate Bridge was featured in mine, shown below. There is also is a “FLIP” button that hints you to “flip” open your magazine.

flipboard-start-screen

After you’ve set up your content, you’ll see them all laid nicely in the boxes.

Flipboard Facebook integration

Now simply choose a box to start checking out content! As soon as you touch a certain media source, it flips open just like a magazine, using headings from pages as headlines, and even separating content or posts out into separate “articles” that you can click on to read more.

Flipboard will never leave you wondering where to go to find more to read or look at. Every time you get done reading, or if you don’t happen to find something you like, you can just turn to the next page of content, like in any book or magazine, and continue reading. You can also drag along dots at the bottom of the screen to go to a specific page. All this content is automatically populated, so you’re not doing much waiting at all while content loads.

Functionality

As mentioned above, Flipboard pulls in content from tons of sources. On top of that, you can easily share and interact with the content as well. For instance, once you have added your Facebook account, you can comment on photos and reply to wall posts, as well as view links in an integrated window. You can even “Like” the content! In Twitter, you can tweet and share links just like in any other Twitter app, except that it looks gorgeous in Flipboard!

RSS Feeds in Flipboard

Importing RSS feeds is as easy as you are probably expecting it to be. Tap the “Add a Section” box. It will bring up a window which allows you to add content from anywhere across the web, including RSS feeds. Select “Add a Custom Section“. This will allow you to bring in feeds from anywhere across the net, as long as they have an associated Twitter account.

flipboard-add-custom-section-screen

Once you add a feed, it will look like this:

flipboard-itk-rss-feed

With headlines at the top reminding you what site’s news you’re reading, as well as smaller headings for each article, navigating a feed is as natural as looking through a magazine for an article you want to read. (Maybe even more so given Flipboard lack of ads!)

Social Networking

One of the App’s most highly touted features is its integration with Facebook and Twitter. Adding Facebook and Twitter accounts is super easy. Same as the steps above, just select Facebook or Twitter from the list and enter your account credentials. Flipboard will then pull in Facebook News Feed items as well as Tweets, and organize them in an easy to consume fashion.

flipboard-twitter

flipboard-twitter1

As you can see, not only is Facebook displayed nicely with photos, groups, and basically all of Facebook’s basic functionality, but Twitter’s links are displayed perfectly, as well as tweets, retweets, and all.

Using Google Reader in Flipboard

Not only is setting up Google Reader a breeze in Flipboard, but its also what I believe (so far anyway) the absolute best way to read news you care about on the iPad. As you can see in the screenshot below, Google Reader in Flipboard offers every bit of functionality the actual reader does. You can see Starred Items (as well as star ones you enjoy originally on your iPad) and check out your subscriptions, followers, and more. You can also share Google Reader articles with others with just a couple of touches.

Flipboard integrates Google Reader feeds

To top things off, Google Reader just looks perfect in Flipboard. It honestly feels like the magazine someone created just for you. From your own selected content to the natural, magazine like feel of flipping through Flipboard’s pages of content, no one has congregated data and information in such a user-friendly way to date. Google Reader is the perfect fit on the iPad, just check out the screenshot below to see how well its organized.

flipboard-google-reader

Wrap-Up

This is practically just scraping the surface of the possibilities Flipboard offers. With tons free content that you already get from multiple different sources available in a unified, elegant interface, there isn’t much standing between Flipboard and the mainstream. I can’t recommend it highly enough, and definitely suggest you give it a shot as well.

What other readers and content integration tools have you found? Are you going to try Flipboard? Let us know what you think of it in the comments!

Flipboad (iTunes link)