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Flipboard Comes to the iPhone

Social magazine looks beyond tablets

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Flipboard, the popular news-reading startup, is taking its first step beyond the iPad: It announced plans to launch its iPhone app today.

Normally, there's nothing unusual about a startup launching an iPhone app. Flipboard is a bit different because it has been iPad-only since it first launched in July of last year. And it has been closely identified with Apple's tablet, with blogger Robert Scoble, for example, calling it the iPad's first "killer app."

The company calls itself a "social magazine," presenting news stories from your social networks in a slick, tablet-optimized layout. Over time, it has put a bigger emphasis on editorial and advertising partnerhips, and it even hired former Time editor Josh Quittner to be its editorial director.

Despite Flipboard's apparent focus on the iPad, a move to other devices was probably inevitable if it wanted to reach enough readers to justify its reported $200 million valuation, especially given the emergence of competing news apps that moved more quickly onto the iPhone.

The big challenge, the company says, was squeezing the Flipboard experience onto the smaller iPhone screen. In addition to redesigning the app, it's also adding a new feature called Cover Stories, aimed at giving users a single place to find the most recent news, updates, and photos that's tailored to their interests.

"With the iPhone, we redesigned Flipboard for a new use case where people want to find the things they care about even faster and multiple times every day," said Flipboard CEO Mike McCue in a statement.