Digg released its official iPhone app this morning and in many ways it's more usable than the website itself. The app is a little buggy, doesn't allow you to post comments and doesn't include the video or images section of the site - but it's still quite good.
The best is likely to come as the app's login process points to the next version of Digg as a platform. In that future scenario, top stories will be surfaced faster and more to your liking by integrating links shared by your friends on Twitter and Facebook. Meanwhile, there are a number of reasons I'm more likely to use this new app than I am to visit Digg.com.
The new Digg app's design is clean, simple and easy to browse. No ads, no story summaries until you ask for one, no extraneous text about Digg features. It's much easier on the eyes than the site itself, which has grown overloaded with features, colors and text. Feature request: It sure would be nice to be able to peruse the images section of Digg on the iPhone, especially if there was a way it could be made fast.
Bookmarking stories to read later is smart. That's a feature unique to the iPhone interface. Browse your favorite categories looking for the stories you're interested in reading, bookmark them, then go back and see them all in one place. That's a compelling use-case, especially on mobile. What percentage of the stories on any Digg page do you really want to read? Hunting for interesting content amongst what's popular is part of the fun. Why stop hunting for fear of losing track of a gem you've found? Feature request: Instapaper integration. I'd love to hit up Digg while sitting on the tarmac before a plane takes off and easily save some good stories to read while I'm up in the air. Perhaps just off-line reading like the New York Times app is what I'm looking for.
The "most popular" paradigm is particularly well-suited for mobile. If you're a serious web user, you probably get news and links from all over the web, not from one site. Right now Digg's links are probably old news to you, too. The limited selection or most-popular "in case you missed it" type of stories you'll find on the Digg front page is uniquely well suited to mobile reading. I don't have time to do too much exploration on my phone so please recommend me some good stuff in a hurry. Feature request: Please bring me personalized recommendations asap in this app.
The sooner those recommendations can be tied to the activities of my friends on Twitter and Facebook, the better. Unfortunately, it looks like that New Digg is still several months away.
Until it comes out, though, the Digg iPhone app is a pretty good way to follow popular news online. You can get it here or search for it in the app store.