Like Lord Grantham has Carson, you can have a butler for your iPhone with the Winston iPhone app. You authorize Facebook and Twitter, select news topics, and the Winston iPhone app gives you a brief audio update. The audio is a peculiar mix of the English accent Tom Tom voice, Siri, and Charlie’s Angels. Your first reaction will be “this is weird,” but, with a bit of use, you’ll think it’s cool and fresh.
The Winston iPhone app has a quick permission and customization process. You must make sure the volume is activated, and it recommends you turn it up to a loud level. Your iPhone butler’s voice leads you through the process. You touch items of interest to follow like headlines, sports, politics, entertainment, world, technology, business, and fashion. You also authorize location services for local news and weather. The home screen is created, and you have a chance to authorize Facebook and Twitter. If you have more than one Twitter account, it does not give you the chance to select your preferred Twitter account.
The Facebook authorization process has a couple of interesting selections. If the Winston iPhone app includes a notification in its summary, it will mark it read if authorized. I generally do not grant permission to access my feed with most iOS apps, but your Winston iPhone app needs this permission to function fully. You can also decide how it posts to your feed–public, friends, or only you.
The home screen is visually strong and appealing. It reminds me of standing in front of all of the TVs available in a big box retail store. There is a matrix grid with a photo slide show fading in and out to complement the content of each category. The category is listed as a headline at the top of each box, and the time since content was updated takes position in the bottom of each box. You scroll your feed with vertical swipes, and new information unfolds.
You can add specific providers to your home screen as well. The groups you may follow are well-respected, established news and information providers. You can follow ESPN, The Guardian, NPR, Tech Crunch, The Atlantic, The Onion, Reuters, and more.
When you touch a category, the Winston iPhone app audio synopsis of the content begins with a splash of funky background music. There is a slight awkwardness to the automated voice, but the ability to add and finesse the news items is unexpected and fun. For example, today is Valentine’s Day, so my Facebook news feed is filled with Valentine status updates. My audio update referred to a friend of mine as “excited” about Valentine’s Day. The word “excited” was not in her update, but she did use five exclamation points. The Winston iPhone app pointed out a couple of friends’ photos with many likes and comments. It was particularly fun to listen to an audio update of The Onion’s content. You can touch the screen to get the entire article.
The Winston iPhone app is smart, fun, and peculiar–but in a very good way. The free download is a neat way to stay informed with your iPhone.
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