Today we’ll be looking at another simple, yet incredibly useful, app for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch. Instapaper Pro is essentially an online web clipping service with a native iPhone app viewer. Available in two varieties, a free ad-supported version and a Pro paid version with a fuller feature set. I’ll be looking at the paid Instapaper Pro, however a majority of the features and functions are also available in the free version. Read on to see why this nifty service is a must for your iPhone.
Instapaper is one of those beautiful apps that fills a feature gap with aplomb and panash. If you’ve ever come across an article, seen a comic or a crucial piece of documentation that you simply don’t have time to do justice to but want to save it for later, then Instapaper is for you. Instapaper allows you to simply ‘save it for later’ using a bookmarklet that links and downloads articles to your Instapaper account. From there you can load up the Instapaper application to pull down the saved articles for later on or offline viewing. It’s a very simple function that used to be fulfilled by apps like AvantGo in the days of webclipping on the Palm Pilot. The beauty about Instapaper is that you can save articles from litterally anywhere you have a browser using a simple bookmarklet which is marvellous. On a personal note Instapaper is also great for saving articles and information that as a blogger I want to post about later, allowing me to go back and easily retrieve that interesting story.
That’s all very well, but why not just use bookmarks to go back later? That is exactly what I used to do before I found Instapaper. Bookmarks work well enough if you’ve got a reliable connection (ahem AT&T/O2) and the website you’re pulling up isn’t too complex (at least on the iPhone), but what happens if you want to read the article underground in the Tube or where there’s no signal. With clips saved to Instapaper you can read them where ever you are and forgo the possible lengthy load times of complex websites. Complete reflowed text or graphically formatted, Instapaper presents an easy to use, fast and efficient system for getting to the information once you’ve got the time. Of course if you then want to look into it further, a quick tap and you can open the article in Safari and find what you need. Once you’ve read the article you can simply archieve it or delete it, or if it’s really good make if a favourite.
Some nice features of Instapaper Pro include adjustable font styles and sizes for ease of reading, tilt scrolling using the accelerometer and quick switch between as is, graphical formatting and text reflow. You can also turn off rotation which is particularly helpful when reading in bed. A recent update has also given you the ability to send articles to Twitter directly or via multiple clients or to Tumblr. You can also email articles right from within the app, so all communication lines are covered.
One of my favourite features of Instapaper, however, has to be it’s clipping integration with Twitter clients on the iPhone such as Twitterfon. Twitter often presents a prime example of something interesting to read that I simply don’t have time for at the time of reading the tweet. Instead of having to go back and search for the tweet that carried the link, I can simply send it to Instapaper and have it available for when I’ve got a bit more time. With more and more people posting interesting articles to Twitter, Instapaper integration is a true godsend in my opinion.
Now, if you can do without tilt scrolling and a few other niceties such as unlimited articles then, Instapaper free will probably do you well. If however you’re like me and don’t like ads in your apps and want more storage then check out Instapaper Pro for $4.99 (£2.99) in the App Store. Check below for some more screenies.