I bought NetNewsWire for iPad on launch weekend and I’ve been pretty satisfied with my purchase. I saw there are quite a few negative reviews and I can see how the software isn’t for everyone (yet) – so here is my take on NNW at this point:
Simple, clean interface focused on your RSS content.
Syncs without a hitch with Google Reader.
Integrated Instapaper support.
Integrated web browser so navigating links within a feed item doesn’t take you out of the app. (You can still open the link in Safari if you want though.)
When in portrait mode, the whole screen is the feed item with a small toolbar at the top with a few options (such as move to the next item).
Post the current item to Twitter or Email.
Support for marking items as “starred” in Google Reader.
It’s $10 – this wasn’t that much of a con for me, but I know $10 for an RSS reader is a bit high for some people. (Maybe there will be a lite version of the iPad app soon…)
You must use Google Reader – you’ll need an account to sign in with when you startup NNW…without it, you get nada.
You can’t add/remove feeds from within NNW – I have my list pretty stable, so I don’t expect I’ll be needing this much, but if you like to change up your feeds
No Tumblr support – I’d like to be able to post an interesting item to Tumblr instead of Twitter.
Minor bugs – the iTunes reviews make it sound like there are a ton of bugs, but there is only one bug/issue I’ve noticed so far. The “show next” button doesn’t automatically enable itself until you click on an item (so when you download 30 new feed items, you’ll need to touch one to start off…then you can just “next” your way smoothly through them).
Not a universal iPhone/iPod/iPad app – it seems reasonable that this app would be a universal app since it should work largely the same on all Apple devices, but it looks like you’ll still need two apps if you want it on both types of devices.
For me, NetNewsWire works great. Reading feed items is almost as nice as reading a page from a book in iBooks or Kindle. I already manage all of my feeds via the Google Reader web interface, so I don’t mind some of the features being missing. I do expect NNW will get plenty more features in the long run – all of the apps were rushed out the door for the iPad launch, so it’ll take a little time for them to get all of their features in. If $10 is a bit too much for you or you want more features (at the expense of a bare bones, but serviceable UI), then NewsRack looks like a good choice at $5. I think most people are going to be happier with NewsRack until NNW steps it up feature wise, but NNW works for me and I’ve really enjoyed using it.