If you browse through a dozen or more bookmarks in Safari or Chrome or Firefox to do your daily news intake, then you’re missing the coolest antique technology option available; one that is so useful you can browse dozens of websites in one tenth the time it takes with browser bookmarks.
Can you say RSS?
This old internet technology works perfectly wonderfully simple even in the 21st century and makes bookmark navigation so 1999. This week I’ve been using a new RSS reader– essentially a bookmark system with a built-in browser– that connects to websites and downloads headlines and a summary of recent articles and does it automatically.
It’s called News Explorer and it might be the most perfectly simple RSS reader available for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch. Yep. That’s right. RSS subscriptions sync up automatically between each Apple device– OS X, iOS, and Watch– to deliver up-to-the-minute news headlines, complete with a summary, and a single click gets you the whole shebang. If you know how to use iTunes or Photos, then you know how to use News Explorer.
Does this look familiar?
This RSS reader is mostly set it and forget with a nominal list of configuration options. The lefthand sidebar displays the list of RSS subscriptions, and they can be sorted into categories as you see fit. Click the Plus button to add a subscription URL and News Explorer automatically downloads recent headlines and a summary from the website.
RSS subscriptions are easy to retrieve and drop into News Explorer and the app comes with bookmarking, read later, and sharing options. Apple’s Handoff feature works, too. Whatever you were reading on your Mac is available on iPhone or iPad so you can grab and go and still not lose your place.
The iPhone and iPad versions work much the same way; nominal configuration. In fact, once you set up News Explorer on your Mac, iCloud is used to sync up the app’s iPhone and iPad versions automatically.
Search is built in so as you collect website articles use it to find particular topics. You determine how long read articles remain on your device. Finding additional websites to add to your subscription collection is easy thanks to the built-in Feedly search. New sites can be added with a click (or, a tap on the iPhone or iPad screen).
Take a look at the collected Apple product images below. What do you see that seems out of place?
Not only does News Explorer run on Mac, iPhone, and iPad, there’s a Watch version, too, and it delivers headlines and a summary which can be read in a glance.
Wait. There’s more.
Notice the Apple TV image? News Explorer has an Apple TV version of the RSS reader and it’s not just a mirrored image from iPhone on the TV screen. It’s a news reader app you can watch on Apple TV. Obviously, it’s not as feature laden as the Mac and iPhone/iPad versions, but all the basics are there, including iCloud sync, both RSS 2.0 and Atom subscription feeds, the List, Article, and Timeline news, and themes.
I’ve been using RSS readers since a month before forever and gone through more than my fair share, all the way back to NetNewsWire and others in the early days. Other RSS readers have more bells and whistles but News Explorer has a better balance of usability and useful features, and it syncs up well between all of Apple’s devices.