Earlier this year, web reading service and platform Readability found itself in the middle of a debate regarding Apple’s newly launched subscriptions for apps and in-app purchasing rules, which forced the developers of Readability — a web-based tool to organize and read articles found online — to either follow Apple’s guidelines and give a 30% of their revenue to the company, or give up on the idea of having a native iOS client for iPhone and iPad. Because Readability’s unique twist was that, with a monthly fee, 70% of the revenue would go to the publishers of articles consumed through Readability, the developers decided to change direction and create a full-featured HTML5 app with offline access and most of the features they originally planned for the native Readability app. Readability’s revamped service was promising, but its developers didn’t expect subscriptions and in-app purchase rules to apply to them. And so they chose HTML5.
Today, however, Readability is announcing major changes to the platform, which include a new price point: free. Users that still want to support publishers will be able to create a Premium subscription that will also give them “additional features”; Readability says that going free will allow more people to enjoy the service, and solidify Readability as a platform for web reading.
With this release, Readability is available at no cost. Sign-up and you’ll have your own profile and reading list in no time. Both Readability accounts and our companion apps will always be completely free, but we also offer a premium experience for users who want additional features and an easy way to support their favorite writers and publishers.
Another big change for Readability is that, by going free, this time they have a chance of being approved by Apple. In fact, the developers explain in a blog post that a new iOS app — built in collaboration with Teehan+Lax — has already been submitted to Apple, and is awaiting approval. Considering the aforementioned Premium option for users, we assume it’ll be built directly into the app as well as in-app purchase (as only publishing apps with recurring subscriptions are accepted into Apple’s Newsstand).
Alongside the new iOS app, work continues on Readability’s HTML5 website and the entire Readability feature set, which is now open to developers and publishers willing to ”enrich their own services and apps with Readability.”
Since its re-launch earlier this year, Readability has always looked like a viable alternative to more popular “read later” solutions like Instapaper and Read It Later, both available on the web as well as iOS devices. Currently, Readability comes with an array of browser-based tools such as bookmarklets and a Chrome extension, whilst the website has a landing page for the iOS app “coming soon” for free.
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