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Longform for iPad

Longform for iPad

I've recently tweeted about how I re-discovered Longform and their iPad app, and I thought the app deserved a mention here as well. Like the name implies, Longform is a service that curates "new and classic non-fiction from around the web" in the form of direct links to articles you can read in your browser. While there are many services like it, I prefer the clean look of Longform's website and the human aspect of their curation: for instance, the summaries Longform provides feel like they're written by humans rather than automated scrapers. The format of the website, Twitter account, and "Best Of" lists feel like they're managed by people who actually read the links they curate. Even their About page is simple and elegant.

The iPad app (soon to be joined by an iPhone version) has become my go-to app for discovering articles I want to read. Even better: while I discover a lot of articles about tech via Twitter and RSS, Longform allows me to read great pieces of non-fiction out of my "geek comfort zone", such as this story about Apollo Robbins or this terrific story by Eric Puchner. The iPad app comes with the standard stream of Longform-curated links, but it also lets you add "subscriptions" to specific sites, so you can, for example, view only articles from The New Yorker or GQ.

Longform doesn't care about read-later drama and nerd gossip: it's service-agnostic in the way it supports Instapaper, Pocket, and Readability -- so you'll be able to easily send articles to your app of choice. A subtle touch that I really appreciate is that, while the app comes with its own text-only "Read mode", it defaults to a standard Web view when opening links, so I'm sure the website owner gets a page view from me before I send the article to Instapaper. If you do want to read within Longform, there are settings to adjust fonts and sharing options, but, overall, I prefer the presentation and feature set of Instapaper for these tasks.

More than an anonymous web service, Longform is a group of human editors whom I trust to bring me content I wouldn't discover otherwise. The iPad app is only $0.99 on the App Store.