It’d be great if the iOS app had an (optional) notification badge telling you how many items were unread.
I’m against more badges. Also, badges are quite a bit of work to setup, since you have to connect to the Apple Push Notification Service (APNS), which is a whole kettle of fish, since I have to count for you and then push the numbers to you. Lots of work and for very little benefit. It’s going to say “406” or “1242” or even just “7”.
This is not yet taking into account the fact that NewsBlur has three unread counts (red/yellow/green), which complicates things. Getting unread counts into the window title of the website took enough finagling.
I understand your reservations. Nevertheless this is something quite a few people are asking for (in different discussion threads). The main problems is, that by not having a notification badge, Newsblur behaves differently from most other iOS apps, which is confusing. I regularly forget to open Newsblur on iOS because there is no unread count.
The problems you mention (red/green/yellow) could be a configuration option.
What about just a count of saved articles as a badge? I am currently using Pocket on my iPad almost solely so I have an unread count (so I remember to read the stuff I’ve saved). I’d love to skip Pocket and just use Newsblur for this.