Reading News on the iPhone


Before the iPhone was released last week, news of an RSS reader for the iPhone started showing up. If you go to http://reader.mac.com/ with a browser, you see the message "This application can only be viewed using the iPhone." Visting it with an iPhone just shows the message "type an RSS URL into your browser" or something like that.

I thought "that's lame--they built a whole Web site to tell me to type a URL into by toolbar?" But when you do, the browser automatically redirects to reader.mac.com and displays the RSS as a nice iPhone formated screen. It's not a real news reader--no "mark as read," no aggregate views, an so on, but it's a convenient way to view an RSS feed.

At first, I thought that the news reader was downloading some Javascript that persistently monitored the return messages for every HTTP request and intercepted any responses with a specific content type to redirect to reader.mac.com. That was hurting my head.

Today I got my hands on an iPhone that had never been to reader.mac.com and it exhibited the same behavior--meaning that the intercept and redirect it built into Safari on the iPhone.

I'm disappointed that I have no control over the behavior. Apple's reader it limited. What if someone comes out with a better one? I'm stuck with Apple because they control Safari.