Many people would rather get their Internet news from RSS feeds than from visiting actual websites for a few very compelling reasons: there are fewer ads, they can scan headlines and pick just those articles that look interesting rather than scrolling through a web page, and feed aggregation apps make it possible to condense the contents of many web pages into one feed. A new app from developer Enemy Tree LLC by the name of Mosaiscope (free) is designed to make discovery of new topics and sources of news easier, then make it simple to read posts in a choice of desired formats.
The app is universal and looks great on everything from an iPhone 5s to an iPad Pro. Mosaiscope provides discovery of feeds and news through two different mechanisms: topics (like Apple) and sources (like the Rocket Yard). Select a topic from the long list that Mosaiscope provides and the app begins feeding information from a pre-curated source list. Adding trusted sources like the Rocket Yard is easy, as many popular sites are already in the list of sources. To find topics or sources, there’s a “shopping cart” button that displays those lists.
Scrolling through the list and tapping on sources that look interesting is one way to add information to a feed; another is to tap the search button and enter a topic name, source name, or hashtag.
Once sources have been added, Mosaiscope displays a magazine-like view that includes an image from the original post as well as the text of the post. Tapping on an “eyeball” view button lets the user change that view to a list (text only) or a full view that displays a full-sized image along with several lines of text.
At the present time, Mosaiscope is free, as are the premium services that the company has lined up. Those premium services include Email Subscribe, Power Sync, and several others that will be added in a future version of the app. Email Subscribe is a brilliant concept — take newsletters, updates, and offers from email, then turn them into “articles” that can be viewed as part of a news feed. After 14 days, that content is automatically deleted.
Power Sync is designed for the users who have both an iPhone and iPad and want to make sure that they’re not re-reading the same articles when moving from one device to another. Not only does Power Sync ensure that each device is up to date, but it also provides more frequent syncing with news sources so fast-breaking news shows up quickly.
A future version of Mosaiscope will add a feature called Pinpoint Bookmarking that brings the syncing down to the word level — the next time an article is opened on any connected device, it opens back up to the exact place the reader left off. There are several other features called Power Search and Power Views that are planned for future versions, but there are no details about what those two features will accomplish.
Compared to similar apps like News, Feedly, and Fiery Feeds, I found that the ability to switch between viewing formats with a tap was very handy. I often start using Mosaiscope in the list view to scan headlines, then jump into the full view to begin reading. My favorite feature was the “shopping cart” and being able to quickly find sources and topics to add to my feed. While I didn’t try the Email Subscribe capability, it appears easy to set up and each user receives a unique email address that’s associated with their Mosaiscope account.
While my friends in the midwest might find it useful, I found it odd that the app had a topic for the Chicago Cubs but nothing for Major League Baseball in general. Likewise, the UI can be a bit odd at times; while all the buttons are always easy to find, sometimes pressing more than one can produce search results that are empty when you know that there is content available.
Mosaiscope is fast, stable, and the developer has a long-term strategy for how the app will develop over time. It’s designed for choice, providing readers with options for discovery, views, and the devices they wish to read on. If you’re not personally thrilled with Apple’s News app and want to try something different, Mosaiscope is worth a close look.