Newsstand, you're dumped
No response from my enquiry to Newsstand's developer, posted here, but as fortune would have it NewGator silently released their iPhone client with Google Reader sync a couple of days ago.
I make a point of saying "silently", because for the past month or two they've been very vocal in assuring us loyal users (I've used NetNewsWire on the Mac for yonks) that phasing out of their own synchronisation service would be followed by updated support for Google Reader sync instead. We'd be first to know, they said, when the iPhone client was ready. Somehow I missed the release until tonight.
And the results of synchronisation of my entire 47 subscription feed list is clear (test done with one unread post):
There's just no question about it. Newsstand is unusable and NetNewsWire is usable.
Technically, the difference is this:
Both readers start by grabbing the feed list from Google Reader. Newsstand then grabs all of the last 25 posts of every feed through the Google Reader api. Stupid. NetNewsWire on the other hand, grabs the feed list and then uses the Google Reader api to find out if any feeds have unread posts. Then, instead of grabbing 25 posts from all the feeds, it uses the 'xt' flag to only grab the unread posts from only the feeds with unread posts. In other words, NetNewsWire uses Google Reader for what its designed for!
Now I'm a bit peeved that I paid $6 (and $5 for 40MB of wasted data) for Newsstand after reading the unequivocal buy recommendation on Wired. And on a wider scale, I'm peeved that I'm relying on a Wired article for iPhone app recommendations. Either the reviews on the App Store need to become better informed and more reliable, or there needs to be some way of trialling apps! At least NewsGator have got the model right - I used their free, ad supported version to conduct this test, and once I've finished writing this post I'll be straight back to the App Store to buy their "Pro" version. I wouldn't even care if it was any different to the free version - it's only a couple of bucks and the value to me is immense.
Oh - unlike Newsstand, NetNewsWire only supports Instapaper, not ReadItLater. Argh, it appears I signed up for the wrong one. Great... another sign up process to battle through.
Stay tuned for a more considered report on the shortcomings of the iPhone.