As far as sync is concerned, we knew we would likely need an alternative to Google Reader as early as last year. At the time, the option that seemed to make the most sense was to embrace iCloud and Core Data as the new sync solution of choice. We spent a considerable amount of time on this effort, but iCloud and Core Data syncing had issues that we simply could not resolve.
It’s good to hear that they’re trying a new strategy that’s more under their control. And it’s unfortunate that iCloud has held back updates, even though not all NetNewsWire users need syncing.
Update (2013-03-30): Brent Simmons:
If you’re writing an RSS reader, you can’t ask iCloud to download feeds.
There are all kinds of services that make sense on the server side. You could do some of them on a client, but at the expense of timeliness and battery life. If it’s a good idea, and you don’t do it on a server, your competition just has to write a server that does it, and your app is finished.