In August, Instapaper was acquired by Pinterest. Today, Instapaper announced that it is making its premium features free to all users. Previously, full-text search, unlimited notes, text-to-speech playlists, and speed reading were premium features that cost $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year. In an email to premium subscribers, Instapaper said:
Now that we're better resourced, we're able to offer everyone the best version of Instapaper.
Instapaper is also eliminating all advertising from its website. Premium subscribers will receive a pro rated refund of their current subscriptions.
According to The Verge, which spoke to Pinterest:
Pinterest says it has “no new monetization plans to share at this time” for Instapaper. The decision to drop subscriptions, Pinterest says, was simply a matter of the app being “better resourced,” so that it can “offer everyone the best version.”
The battle among read-it-later services has been a long one. By making some of Instapaper’s most powerful features free, Instapaper should be better positioned to compete against its main rival, Pocket.
In a surprising move, Pinterest has acquired Instapaper, the iOS app and web service originally built by Marco Arment and sold to betaworks in 2013. According to Casey Newton of The Verge:
The goal is "to accelerate discovering and saving articles on Pinterest," the company said in a statement. It will continue to operate as a standalone app, and the Instapaper team will work on both that app and on Pinterest generally.
Pinterest has had an article saving feature since 2013, though the service is far better known as a way to bookmark images and other visual content. With the acquisition of Instapaper, which Pinterest says will be maintained as a stand-alone app, Pinterest appears to be looking for a way to expand its customer base into sectors adjacent to it’s core product.
The Instapaper team, writing on the company blog:
Since the launch of our new parser in January, we’ve gotten lots of inquiries from developers about using our parser for third-party applications. With the new Instaparser API, app developers can use our parsing tools to provide users with a lightning-fast browsing experience optimized for mobile devices. Data scientists can use the tools to normalize input for text analysis. And hackers can do, well, whatever hackers might like to do with lightning-fast access to clean, standardized web page data.
The addition of an API makes sense to me – now third-party developers (think Twitter clients or news readers) can access the same powerful parser that Instapaper uses (which is excellent). I'm curious to see which iOS apps will implement it in the near future.
There's also a free tier available here.
I've talked about Fiery Feeds in my review of 2Do and in previous emails to Club MacStories members – it's an RSS reader developed by Lukas Burgstaller that works with a lot of RSS services and that strives to become the most powerful option for RSS power users on iOS. I'd like to quickly point out the 1.6 update that was released this week as it inches closer to that vision with new integrations.
I'm a voracious web reader. I spend most of my working days either writing or checking Twitter, NewsBlur, Nuzzel, Techmeme, and The Tech Block looking for interesting stuff I can link to or longer articles I want to read later. When I'm not writing or looking for stories, I spend my time reading and playing videogames. I read a lot. And Instapaper has always appealed to my reading taste with a thoughtful design, fair business model, and powerful features.
The team at betaworks has released Instapaper for Apple Watch today. With the Watch, Instapaper eschews text (you don't want to read long articles on your wrist) in favor of text-to-speech – introduced back in September.
Today we’re introducing a whole new way to get through your articles with Instapaper for the Apple Watch. The Watch app allows you to navigate to any saved article and trigger text-to-speech playback from your iPhone […]
Once an article is selected, the Watch app provides you with a text-to-speech controller that includes options to play, pause, fast forward, rewind, change the rate, and view the article’s current progress […]
As Marco Arment writes, Instapaper is now also an audio app, which makes it suitable for the Watch. Nice idea, especially because it still syncs reading/listening position between devices.
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.
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.
Launched in September alongside iOS 8, Instapaper 6.0 added a share extension to natively save links for later from any iOS app that supported the system share sheet. Today, betaworks has released Instapaper 6.1, which makes the extension less obtrusive by dropping the modal approach that was adopted from the popular Instapaper Bookmarklet and that also brings support for Handoff and a new unread count badge.
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.