We have long used a couple different apps for collecting Web sites to read when it is more convenient. When at work and we stumble on a site that is more fun, save it to read at home later. Or when we find a page that has a wealth of information, too much to cover now, we save the whole page to read later, offline too. A popular solution of our options, Instapaper, was just updated to 4.0.
The concept is easy, when your on a page to save for later or offline ready, just choose to add it to Instapaper. This can be done from a Web browser on your iPad or desktop computer, both saving the page to your acct. Later, you launch Instapaper and have it retrieve all of the saved content. Once on your iPad, you can look at it when your time permits.
This update takes the list of articles to be read and puts them into a grid, each box with more information than was available previously. As well, a new quick navigation bar has been added to the left. The same look/feel works in landscape and portrait views.
Upon launch, Instapaper grabs articles you have chosen to ‘read later’. Each Web page posts appears in it’s own box on the scrollable grid. The box contains the ability to tap-to-read, trash it and file it. Along the bottom of each box is a row of dots to tell you how many pages the article spans and if you have any progress through the article.
Across the top of the general window is the ability to search across your articles, as well an option of share and file. The search is our only real negative with this Instapaper update as it now requires a in-app purchase to use… every few months!!!
Along the left side of the screen of Instapaper is the areas of content. Leading off at the top with content you have chosen to read later, followed by articles you have ‘liked’ and ones you have completed. Lower is three icons to see content saved by friends you care to exchange with and a group of articles saved by ‘editors’ outside of your circle of friends… which can be a nice bit of fun reading when you want a break for your normal saved posts.
There is a ‘dark’ mode view too. Reversing the background and text colors for easier reading in different lighting situations.
The content of the article is opened into a full page view where pictures are optional, and links continue to work. Instapaper offers you the ability to adjust the Font, ‘like’ the article, trash it and more all from this view page.
The list of settings to fine tune Instapaper looks like it goes on forever when you first open it. They all appear useful and tuning does make the usability truly yours. You can choose to allow content to be added via email and Safari, if you wish to use the Dark mode, allowing Rotation, how the scrolling works, Redownload all of the content, download on launch quantities, page turning, location to open links, tilt scrolling, article sort… you get it… Instapaper looks to be as usable as possible by not locking you into the Developer’s way of doing things.