When I first got my iPad, which was almost 3 years ago, I had no idea what to do with it. It’s not a computer, it’s not a phone, what do you do with a tablet? The obvious answer came quickly – games. And the iPad has definitely proved itself as a great gaming machine for a non-gamer such as me. The less obvious answer took longer to come, but it finally sunk in after a little while – the iPad is great for reading.
You’ll now jump up and say that the iPad’s screen is horrible on the eyes and is in no way a good replacement for a book or a designated eReader. And I complete agree. There is one thing, though, that the iPad’s really great for, and that’s my RSS feeds. If I’m going to be reading from a screen anyway, why not do it in comfort?
So now that I knew what to use the iPad for, came the harder question of how to get this done. There’s no lack of good news readers for iPad, with Pulse, Google Currents and Flipboard leading the pack, but today I’m here to tell you about another one. One you might be a little less familiar with, but is nonetheless one of the best readers I tried. I’m talking about Taptu.
Getting Started With Taptu
We’ve told you about Taptu in the past, but much has changed since. Taptu is a beautiful and customizable reader, with an easy and intuitive interface that anyone can use. Many of these readers, while being inherently simple, have confusing interfaces that deter me from even trying to customize them. Taptu is different, and within minutes I had everything I like to read all set up on my iPad.
To use Taptu, you can either choose to log in using Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn, or just use it locally on one device without logging in and without syncing options. First, you should choose some topics that interest you; this will help Taptu choose some of its own curated feeds to get you started. You can always change things around later on.
This is your main Taptu page. Mine already looks nice and colorful after some customization, but the general feel is the same. Scroll up and down between streams, and right and left within each one. If you scroll all the way to the left, the stream will refresh automatically.
Now that you have some feeds, you can start adding your own, curating the existing ones, and more.
Customizing Your Feeds
To start customizing your feeds, tap on the mini sliders icon on the top left corner. This will lead you to your StreamStudio, which looks something like this:
Here you can bore down into each of the feeds, remove the ones you don’t care about, or just unmerge them from the feed. The interface is a tiny bit confusing at first, but makes sense when you think of it. To remove a website from an existing stream, just tap on it. It will now show a V next to it instead of an X – this is the confusing part – but you actually removed it from the stream. You can also change the order in which the feeds appear on your homescreen, add colors, and add new streams.
When adding a new stream, you can either create a search stream for a single keyword, like my “chocolate” stream, add streams from Taptu’s stream store, or import feeds from your Google Reader account.
If you want to add a certain feed to one of you streams which is not already on the list, you’ll have to find it in the StreamStore, add it, and then manually merge it with the stream of your choice. When you do this, you might lose your stream’s color, so don’t get too attached to those. You can also merge new feeds into a whole new stream.
Reading & Sharing
OK, so now everything is set up to your liking and you can get down to the really important part: reading your feeds. Taptu’s reading interface is minimalistic and without any frills. Just text, images and videos, with none of the distracting elements you encounter on a regular web page.
As you can see, it’s very easy to share an article using the share buttons on the left, or save the articles to Instapaper or Pocket (still referred to as Read It Later in Taptu). From here you can also change the font size for articles, or view the article on the Web.
Appearance & Preferences
Aside from the font size for the articles themselves, you can also change the stream’ size, making your entire homepage more dynamic. You can do this my tapping the cog button which is located above each feed on the right.
From here you can also share an entire stream on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, or email the stream’s link. You can also create a search stream based on the stream you’re currently editing.
If you tap the general cogwheel icon – the one on the top right corner of the screen – you’ll find general preferences you can control, although most of these don’t do a whole lot, as far as I could see.
Logging In & Syncing
If you choose to log in to Taptu, you can make use of its syncing abilities. Taptu has a nice Web app you can use to read your feeds on your computer. It syncs seamlessly with the mobile app, so any change you make to one will immediately be synced to the other. You can also use these abilities to read your feeds on multiple devices, such as your iPad and your iPhone.
Taptu is also available for Android, Blackberry, Kindle, Nook and Bada. See more about other versions here.
I love Taptu for its simplicity, its beautiful interface and its fun to use StreamStudio. It’s not perfect, but I’ve yet to find a reader for iPad that is. If you’re still looking for a reader for iPad you’ll love to use, I highly recommend giving Taptu a spin.
What is your favorite reader for iPad? If you had a chance to try Taptu, share your opinion in the comments.