There are three kinds of RSS reader in for the iPad. The first mimics desktop readers and can be powerful (NewsRack) or abandon-ware (NetNewsWire). The second uses RSS, but keeps it a secret (Flipboard). The third category comprises apps which exploit the touch capabilities of the iPad, of which probably the best example is Reeder.
ReadPad is in this last category, and is the only one I haven’t deleted after a day (for the record, Reeder is the RSS app I use daily). Like most RSS readers, it syncs with Google Reader, making it easy to try out (just sign in with your Google ID). ReadPad’s publicity blurb says that it is “beautiful,” “download[s] articles like a wind” (sic), and that reading on it is a joy.
And that’s mostly true. After an initial sync, subsequent updates are fast. Reeder-fast, in fact (and Reeder is just about the quickest reader I have used). With both already synced, a new refresh took 20-seconds for ReadPad, and 26-seconds for Reeder.
“Beautiful” is always a subjective judgement, but as I’m a sucker for simple, elegant interfaces I’ll agree with the developer, George, on this one too. The interface is dark-on-light, reversing to light-on-dark for the article view. When in held horizontally, the source-list is on the left. Tap a title to see all the articles in that “folder”, and tap the circle next to the title to expand that folder and see the feed titles within.
Then just tap a title to read that article. You can scroll to the next post in a list by pulling the current article up, and the new one then snaps in from below (just like in Reeder). To see the articles list again, swipe the main page either left or right to reveal the list beneath.
Sharing options are many. You get Instapaper, Twitter,Facebook, Delicious, Pinboard, Read It Later. Tumblr, Google Reader (of course) and email. Only those that you have configured show up, keeping the menu free from clutter (unless you use them all, of course, in which case you’re on your own).
The speed and ease of reading actually makes the interface disappear, and I find myself liking this almost as much as Reeder. In fact, if ReadPad had come along first, it would probably be my daily RSS client. As it is, I am too used to the utility of Reeder’s big thumbnail/icon view to change now, but you never know.
As it stands, this is a very strong (and so far very stable) v1.0 release, and the only way to pick between it and Reeder is to try them. Both are competent and full-featured. Your taste will decide. $5.
ReadPad product page [iTunes]
ReadPad product page [geeTouch]