The iPad has made social magazine apps in fashion, with the likes of Flipboard and Zite. Zite earlier launched a variant of its social reader for smaller iOS devices, and Flipboard now makes its grand launch for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
Flipboard for the iPhone and iPod Touch brings the familiar Flipboard social-reading interface to smaller screens. Previously an iPad exclusive, Flipboard launched its iPhone app in December, and is now expanding to new regions, with a release in one of the world's biggest Internet populations: China.
Flipboard for China adds new features intended to make it easier for users to read and share content: Cover Stories and Stacks. Support for popular local social networking sites is also included, in lieu of other networks banned from within the mainland.
Flipboard CEO Mike McCue highlights how the new Flipboard for iPhone app puts the power of Flipboard in one's pocket.
The iPad is an amazing device that challenged us to rethink how people discover and share social updates and news. With the iPhone we redesigned Flipboard for those times during the day when you've only got a few minutes to check in, when people want to find the things they care about even faster."
The limited screen real estate of the iPhone and iPod Touch necessitated an adjustment in Flipboard's user experience. Instead of the magazine-like UI found on the iPad, the iPhone version uses a vertical layout, with stories presented in "stacks." Users can navigate stacks by flipping up or down, and then digging deeper by swiping left and right.
Meanwhile, the Cover Stories feature provides an overview of interesting stories from Flipboard sources. Content and photos from social network contacts are likewise presented via Cover Stories.
For the Chinese market, Flipboard offers a Chinese Content Guide, which includes articles from local and localized publications like VOGUE, Esquire and Cosmopolitan China. Content from video portals Youku and Douban are likewise available.
Aside from bringing international content to the Chinese market, Flipboard also makes it easier for an international audience to read Chinese-language content from social networks like Sina Weibo and Renren.
Users from other Asia Pacific countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan — and elsewhere in the world — can access content from their friends on these popular Chinese social networks such as photos, updates and posts. Flipboard's Accounts tab now includes Weibo and Renren.
Flipboard is free for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store.