Apollo has a spiritual successor but Reddit will probably kill it

Winston on iPhone
(Image credit: u/SusKinark)

If you're a big Reddit user you're probably more than aware of the mess that resulted in tons of great third-party apps being shut down. One of those was the popular Apollo app, but now it seems to have a spiritual successor.

Winston is a new Reddit app that is currently only available in TestFlight beta form and it might never get much further than that for reasons we'll get to. But right now it's on the right track, is open source, and importantly, it works with Reddit's API.

Or at least, it does today.

Here today, gone tomorrow?

First, the good news. You can sign up for the beta and test Winston out right now. It isn't finished yet, hence the beta, and there are some features that just don't work yet. But they're on the way, as is some polish to various corners of the app. But even in its current state, we'd wager that Winston is a good alternative to the official Reddit app.

The developer appears to be taking inspiration from Apollo, which is no bad thing, and Winston will feel familiar to fans of the Apollo app. That's all good news.

But there's bad news, too. Starting with the API situation.

Apollo and similar apps went the way of the dodo because Reddit wanted to start charging huge sums of money for access to its API. That API is how apps connect to Reddit itself, and without it, they won't work. And because Apollo was so popular and it would need to access Reddit's API via its own API key a ton, its costs would have been astronomical.

Winston is getting around that by having people sign in using their own individual API key, which certainly works. At least, for now. Because single users can't possibly use the API enough to incur charges, the API fees don't apply. All good, right?

Well, no. As commenters in the Winston announcement thread in the r/apple subreddit note, it's likely to only be a matter of time before Reddit gets wind of what's happening and makes moves to shut Winston down. Which would suck, but also wouldn't be all that surprising.

But for now, Winston works. For how long, and whether it'll make it into the App Store, we can't possibly know.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.