I finally have been admitted to Flipboard, and have had a chance to try it out.
First the conclusion -- eh -- not so great. But maybe if they move forward in an interesting way, this version can be the foundation for something that leads the market in an interesting direction. But right now, I don't plan to use it, and I don't think very many people will use it, after the initial rush has died down.
Caveat: I could be wrong and I know it. My first reaction to Twitter was much the same, but I ended up being a devotee. I also initially misread desktop publishing. I didn't think anyone would want to do it. I've been wrong many times. So don't take this as a pronouncement, rather it's an opinion.
1. If it contains a link, they load the page it points to, run it through Readability to get the core content, extract a picture or two, and lay it out in an attractive way. They only show the first few paragraphs, then link to the full story.
Since it only runs on the iPad, at least now, it has to compete with my current means for reading Twitter on the iPad, which is (I know it's boring) twitter.com in Safari. It works pretty well. I don't see why I should launch Flipboard to read articles I could just as easily read by clicking on a link.
If Flipboard, in a future version, allows me to push content into it via RSS, without going through Twitter or Facebook, then I've got an incentive to use it, and I probably will. This is something neither Twitter or Facebook does. Also, as a developer, and freedom-loving user, I am willing to invest alongside any company that's willing to help me be free of big companies. But this could just as easily be one of the other client developers. No special reason to look to Flipboard for this. Maybe they'll do it, but given the inbred nature of Silicon Valley, they probably won't.
The other hope is that Flipboard offers publishers a way to use a higher-level rendering capability to make their collections more useful to readers. We're waiting for someone to do this. Again it could be Flipboard, but it could just as easily be someone else.
What they've done is captured a lot of attention. That may be a good thing, or as Rex Hammock points out, it may just alienate the publishers, who ultimately they need cooperation from.