Unread is a new RSS reader for the iPhone that promises to deliver "quiet, careful reading" of your RSS feed. It does so with a simple UI that stays out of your way and places the focus on the words in an article. As a result, Unread provides a surprisingly pleasant reading experience.
Many apps adopt a gesture-based, minimal interface because its is trendy, but Unread uses a minimal UI because it works well within the framework of the app. You use a tap to move from your list of accounts (Feedly, Feedbin, etc) to your RSS feeds and then to individual articles. A swiping motion from right to left is used to access a menu for each screen, while a swipe from left to right takes you back from an article to your RSS feeds and then to your account page. It's easy and natural to use once you get used to it.
Unlike other news reading apps like Flipboard, Unread is text-heavy, but that is a good thing. The layout is just perfect, -- the app manages to use the canvas efficiently, with just enough breaks that everything is not cluttered. The typography is appealing and easy to read.
The RSS feed itself is text-only with simple formatting that makes it easy to distinguish the title from the publication name and the text of the article. Links in articles are easily spotted as they are underlined and colored to stand out from the rest of the text. You can turn on thumbnail images, though, it you prefer to add some color to your feed.
The app does not modify truncated feeds. So if a feed is shortened, you only can view the snippet until you click on the title and open the article in the app's built-in web browser. The built-in web browser is also minimal with a refresh button and a a forward/backward button for navigation. The developer did not overlook accessibility and added in support for Voice Over and adjustable font sizes that range from tiny to epic.
Unread supports Feedwrangler, Feedbin and Feedly accounts and you can use more than one service if needed. Syncing is reliable and quick, especially when you use the manual refresh by pulling down and letting go in the familiar bounce back gesture. The app has a variety of settings that you can use to customize the app to your reading preferences. It also supports third party services for sharing and storing articles, including Facebook, Instapaper, Readability, Pocket and others.
Unread is available from the iOS App Store for US$4.99. It is worth every penny for users who want to