Posts tagged with "instapaper"

Instapaper 6.2 Adds Speed Reading, Textshots

Nice Instapaper update released today: the app's extension has been sped up (again), Instant Sync has been added (it uses silent notifications on iOS to fetch new articles in the background), and you can now get through your read-later list with speed reading. I've never been a fan of speed reading, but I like how Betaworks integrated it as a feature inside Instapaper. The extension is much faster in the new version, and it seems to be on par with the speed of Pocket's share extension.

Along the lines of integration, Instapaper 6.2 also lets you generate textshots for Twitter directly from the app. There are some excellent touches in how Instapaper handled textshots: they're generated via software (so you won't end up with images cluttering the Camera Roll) and they preserve the current font and theme selection.

A textshot generated by Instapaper and perfectly previewed inline on Twitter.

A textshot generated by Instapaper and perfectly previewed inline on Twitter.

Furthermore, Instapaper also attempts to guess the best aspect ratio to avoid truncation on Twitter. All this, I think, makes it one of the finest implementations of textshots to date. Bonus points for making it easy to tweet a text selection with the Share button of the copy & paste menu.

Betaworks keeps doing good work on Instapaper. Version 6.2 is available now on the App Store.


Instapaper 6.0 Review

Instapaper is an app that lets me read more. For the work that I do on this website, Relay, and, lately, a weekly newsletter, I have no shortage of links with interesting facts or opinions that I want to consume and absorb. The problem isn’t quantity; it’s attention and time. And Instapaper, thanks to a thoughtful design based on a clear focus and goal, makes me want to read more and carve out time for reading because it is designed for one element: text. Instapaper respects text and the person who reads it.

Read more

Instapaper Highlights

Instapaper received a series of major updates today, including a new Highlights feature and a redesigned website based on feedback gathered by Betaworks in the past few months.

From the Instapaper blog:

In true Instapaper fashion, your highlights are seamlessly synced across all of your devices. We’ve also added the option for you to post automatically your highlights to your linked accounts. It’s disabled by default, but if you turn it on, you can do nifty things like automatically Tweet your highlights, or post them to a Tumblr blog, or drop them into Evernote.

And about the website:

Along with highlights, we’ve completely revamped the Instapaper website, incorporating the feedback you’ve provided us over the last few months. At long last, the Instapaper website is a fully-functional file system for managing, organizing, and acting on the articles and videos you see and save online.

I stopped using Instapaper shortly after their iOS 7 update when I switched to Safari and realized that Reading List could be enough for my needs. But with today's update, I'm going to give Instapaper another try.

Reading List is a fine read-later solution that's nicely integrated with Safari and iCloud. I enjoy the ability to save from anywhere on iOS and I like that I don't have to think about sync problems because iCloud has been surprisingly reliable in Reading List. However, after a few months of daily reading in Safari, I can say that I often miss search, I miss a proper archive of items I've read, and I wish I could easily find articles I've liked. Safari's Reading List is extremely convenient because it comes with no configuration or third-party limitations, but it's not meant for permanent article archival or user interactions besides “Delete”.

Highlights is one of the features that I've always wanted from Instapaper, and the implementation looks good enough for what I need. Highlights are available to premium subscribers (free accounts get only 5), and they can be shared with one tap to connected services. Furthermore, you can activate automatic saving of Highlights to Evernote, which works well for me as I keep my research material for The Prompt and Directional in Evernote. Highlights remove a lot of friction – I used to rely on Drafts workflows to share quotes from articles – and, more importantly, they are differentiated visually in the article text (which I couldn't get with the aforementioned quote sharing). Highlights are synced across devices and they get their own section in the Instapaper apps and website, which helps when I'm on my Mac.

I'm going to subscribe to Instapaper again and try out the Highlights feature for my daily reading and research. While I could simulate highlights with workflows before, they weren't integrated with Instapaper in any way, and it seems like Betaworks really nailed the experience in the app.


Instapaper 5.0: Sorting and Filtering Options, Tweaked Interface for iOS 7

The first major update since the app was sold by original founder and developer Marco Arment to Betaworks earlier this year, Instapaper 5.0 has been released today on the App Store as a free update for existing owners of the app. Instapaper 5.0 doesn’t add any new major functionality to the app, which is still largely similar to the version 4.0 that was first released two years ago. Betaworks made the app ready for iOS 7, polished the interface, and added some new minor functionalities that, however, nicely complement the reading experience. I’ve been testing Instapaper for the past week on my iPhone 5 and iPad mini running the iOS 7 GM seed. Read more

Instapaper Acquired By Betaworks

Today, Marco Arment announced he's sold "a majority stake" in Instapaper, his read-later service, to Betaworks. From his personal blog:

I’m happy to announce that I’ve sold a majority stake in Instapaper to Betaworks. We’ve structured the deal with Instapaper’s health and longevity as the top priority, with incentives to keep it going well into the future. I will continue advising the project indefinitely, while Betaworks will take over its operations, expand its staff, and develop it further.

I’ve known Betaworks for years, and I’ve spent a lot of lunches at their office. They have great engineering talent, great product direction, and plenty of experience running services at Instapaper’s scale. I wouldn’t put Instapaper in just anyone’s hands, and I know that they’ll do right by it.

Marco says that Instapaper will live on at Betaworks, and I believe him. I know Marco wouldn't have sold Instapaper if he didn't know its new owners would be a great fit. I look forward to the future of Instapaper, but still – the first chapter of Instapaper's life is closing today.

I could say many things about Instapaper. I could write about the design decisions behind it. I could give you a summary of Instapaper's updates and why Marco's vision always struck me as clear, honest, and solid.

Instead, I'll just link you to my review of Instapaper 4.0 from October 2011. And, in particular, the very first sentence:

Since I started using Instapaper in 2008, this app has changed the way I read.

It may be overused and obvious, but for me Instapaper was the embodiment of the "design is how it works" philosophy: instead of fancy features, Instapaper focused on one thing – text. The reading experience itself was the basis of Instapaper's design.

I used Instapaper every day, but there's one episode that I remember in particular. Last summer, I was stuck in a hospital bed for 22 days. I was too tired to work from my iPad, and I didn't have my MacBook with me. One day when I couldn't sleep, I launched Instapaper and started reading. Later, I switched to the Friends tab, and saw that some people I followed were saving and sharing old articles of mine. It was a simple thing, but it reminded me of this: in the age of Twitter and real-time trends, Instapaper empowered its users to read at their own pace, with a different experience.

I wrote a quick article that night, and then went back to reading – like many other nights before.

Thank you, Marco, for making Instapaper. Here's to its next chapter.