Back in December 2012 I linked to Interesting, an iPhone news aggregator developed by Mike Rundle that was focused on providing simple access to tech and entertainment news in a delightful design. I wrote:
Interesting collects new articles from a variety of sources and displays a list of entries in reverse chronological order. Tapping on an item opens an embedded web view, which has a toolbar for navigation, refresh, and sharing options. Sharing includes Pocket and Twitter integration, Copy Link, Open in Safari, and Mail Link. Interesting has four sections: Design & Technology; News & Politics; Entertainment & TV; and Sports. The built-in list of sources includes websites like The Next Web, Wired, SBNation, CNN, SPIN, and various sub-reddits.
Released today, Interesting 2.0 is a major update to the original app that introduces a new interface for iOS 7 and adds more content sources to allow users to fetch even more articles to preview in the app or open in Safari.
Interesting has always been focused on simplicity with no options to configure or settings to tweak to start using the app, and that hasn’t changed with version 2.0. The app’s primary goal is still to let you scroll through thousands of fresh headlines pulled from a variety of sources, with an embedded web view that has a share button to post a link on Twitter or Facebook, copy it, email it, open it in Safari, or send it to Pocket.
While I like Interesting’s simple approach to news browsing and reading, I have to wonder whether some basic user preferences and enhancements could make the app more useful for more users. For instance, you can’t choose between Pocket, Instapaper, or Reading List (I couldn’t find an option to use Apple’s system service), and you can’t hide sharing services that you don’t use, such as Facebook for me. The sharing menu could use the addition of something like Overshare (right now, it’s a list), and, of course, I would like to be able to filter sites I don’t want to see headlines from.
I like the direction that Rundle has taken with Interesting on iOS 7: each section still has a unique title bar + status bar color, with a matching pull-to-refresh spinner that I thought was a nice touch. Alas, unlike apps like Fantastical 2 or Pocket Casts 4, Interesting doesn’t have unified title and status bars in a single block of color, opting instead for a slightly darker status bar that – and I’m nitpicking – stands out a bit too much.
The new sidebar is delicious. Available by tapping the list icon in the top left corner (or swiping from the left edge of the screen), it contains beautiful icons accompanied by text labels to switch between sections and two new content sources – Dribbble and Reddit. After you open the sidebar, section icons are revealed with a transition that fades them into view and that I think looks nice and is fast enough in responding to taps.
As a daily lurker on Reddit, I like the addition of a dedicated Reddit section with options to switch back and forth between subreddits and the front page. You can log in with your account (which I don’t have) and view comments (which I do every time I find something interesting enough), but, unfortunately, you can’t pin specific subreddits to the sidebar or create shortcuts to them.
Interesting 2.0 is, overall, a nice update. I still think that the app would be better with settings for sites and sharing services, and I believe that I would use it even more on the iPad, where most of my reading time happens these days. Interesting is $1.99 on the App Store.