Software, Hardware, Silverware

Entries tagged: Instapaper

Instapaper is the original read-it-later app, first developed by Marco Arment.

Underscore Price Dynamics

Marco Arment makes it pretty clear that his upcoming podcast app, Overcast, will be free with in-app purchase:

I’m sure of one thing, though: the market for paid-up-front apps appealing to mass consumers is gone. If you have paid apps in the store, you’ve probably seen the writing on the wall for a while.

Yes, free apps with in-app purchase will make more money. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a scummy business technique. So long as you sleep soundly, I guess.

Instapaper 5


And voila!  As of a few minutes ago, there’s an all-new Instapaper in the App Store. Instapaper 5.0 has a updated look and feel, new features for sorting, filtering, and managing your reading queue, and is translated into 13 languages. We’re really excited for you to start using it.

Instapaper 5 looks great on iOS 7, and the waning hope I have for the app’s future has slowed a bit. Unfortunately, most of the changes are only skin deep. I cannot fathom the decision process that led them to ship the iOS 7 version of their app without background updating.

The New Instapaper Web Beta

The beta of Instapaper’s new web app is available now at This is new product since Betaworks acquired the company earlier this year, and I really wish I liked it. It’s definitely more “web 2.0” than the old Instapaper site, but it isn’t any more usable and it’s cluttered with an enormous ad in the bottom left corner. It’s just a beta, of course, but I want to be excited about Instapaper’s future, and this isn’t doing it for me.

Reading List vs. Instapaper

Ben Brooks:

Since May I have been doing nothing but using Reading List and its given me a new found appreciation for Instapaper. You see, Reading List isn’t horrible, and it’s readily available, but it’s not great. There were numerous times when links would get lost, or inadvertently get marked as having already been read. There were even more times when I thought I saved something, but — well — nope, not saved.

In most cases when Apple enters an app market, their solution is good enough that I can switch to it, and I usually do. As Dan Benjamin has said (though not recently that I can recall), living in the Apple ecosystem is a lot easier when you embrace more of the Apple way. Podcasts sync with my podcasts on iTunes on my Mac, iCloud Keychain will sync my passwords across my browsers this fall, and Safari is a heck of a lot nicer than Chrome or Firefox.

Reading List, though. That little bastard is useless to me as a bookmarking/read-it-later service. Unfortunate, too, as I’m growing increasingly less comfortable with the future of Instapaper.

Instapaper Acquired by Betaworks

It will be interesting to watch this play out. I’ve been using Instapaper every day for the past three and a half years. It is a vital part of the workflow I’ve developed for writing this site. Lately though, I’ve been pondering switching over to Pocket1. Instapaper has been pretty stagnant since version 4.0 a year and a half ago. The iOS app hasn’t been updated since September. Today would have been an ideal time to announce an imminent 5.0, yet silence.

It’s easy to see this as the first step toward Instapaper’s death. That sucks.

  1. Their total absence of any revenue stream whatsoever has prevented me from doing so, thus far. ↩︎

Tumblr for iOS Adds Instapaper Support

Odd that this took so long. I’ve been wishing for Instapaper support since I started using Tumblr for discovery a few weeks ago.

Marco Arment Launches ‘The Magazine’

Marco Arment:

There’s room for another category between individuals and major publishers, and that’s where The Magazine sits. It’s a multi-author, truly modern digital magazine that can appeal to an audience bigger than a niche but smaller than the readership of The New York Times. This is what a modern magazine can be, not a 300 MB stack of static page images laid out manually by 100 people.

Great name. Subscribed.

The Feature

Give Me Something to Read or Editor’s Choice has been renamed The Feature.

Marco Arment:
I came up with “The Feature”, which we didn’t absolutely love, but that we both liked. It fit more of the criteria than anything else we considered, and while it’s not especially unique, it conceptually represents the site very well without smelling like newsprint. The site often features feature articles, and “The Feature” implied a regularly selected feature article. No other name we considered was a better conceptual fit: it really made perfect sense.

Nope, it’s a great name.

Instapaper vs. Readability vs. Read It Later

Ben Brooks, on Christine Chan’s article comparing the three:

There’s actually a lot of “polish” in Instapaper. Instapaper just doesn’t have custom fonts, but that doesn’t mean the fonts that it has are bad — they just aren’t new and shiny. Personally I think Readability did a really nice job designing their app, but it’s got a long way to go to match the usability of Instapaper.

I’ll be sticking with Instapaper.

Learning from Competition

Marco Arment, on Instapaper and custom fonts:

Instead, I’m taking this misstep as a wake-up call: I missed an important opportunity that’s necessary for the long-term competitiveness of my product. So I’ve spent most of the last week testing tons of reading fonts, getting feedback from designers I respect, narrowing it down to a handful of great choices, and negotiating with their foundries for inclusion into the next version of Instapaper.1 And the results in testing so far are awesome. I wish someone had kicked my complacent ass about fonts sooner.

It’s not often that someone completely acknowledges his own failings and the successes of his competitors. I can’t wait for the next Instapaper.

Readability, Instapaper, and Trust

Ben Brooks:

In the mean time, if you truly want to support me, or any other writers on the web, just tell your friends to read our sites — that’s ultimately going to help me more than your monthly $0.13 from Readability.

Without explicitly saying it, I think Ben hates Readability. I must admit, I’m not fond of them either. Don’t trust any company if you can’t see exactly how it makes a profit.

Instapaper Updates “Read It Later” Bookmarklet

Marco Arment:

…the bookmarklet now sports a completely new design that’s highly visible at every screen size, and works in more browsers, too.

The new bookmarklet now also supports automatic saving of every page in multi-page articles.

Marco’s long held out on page-stitching, probably because sites like Ars Technica only offer single-page articles to subscribers. Whether that was right or wrong, competitors seem to have finally forced his hand, which is a win for users. The new “Saving” overlay is gorgeous. Plus, there’s this little gem:

You don’t need to reinstall your Read Later bookmarklet to get this update. It applies automatically to the one you already have.