Hands down my fave iPhone app: Instapaper (created by Marco Arment).
Whenever I come across a long article online that looks interesting — Bill Simmons’ list of the best sports pieces ever written is where I started — I click Instapaper’s “Read Later” bookmarklet and then the app automatically stores it on my phone so I can read it later.
The offline storage makes it great for subway rides in NYC.
Left: List of saved articles on Instapaper’s iPhone app.
The app downloads a text-optimized version of each page which removes the need to zoom or horizontally pan. No more accidentally side-scrolling from a long text column.
Left: How a stripped down article looks onscreen.
Even the online version of the article list has a pleasant simplicity to it:
And the app’s creator plans to keep it that way:
Will you add (obscure feature)?
Probably not, sorry.
There are plenty of other sites that offer similar functionality but with thousands of additional features to satisfy every obscure desire. Instapaper is great because it’s so simple, and keeping it simple is the first priority.
If you read a lot of long pieces, it’s worth it to upgrade to the Pro version which remembers your position in articles so you can dive right back in if you leave one in the middle.
Any complaints? The tilt scrolling is a neat idea but in reality I rarely use it (requires too much precision). And one other annoying thing: If you accidently go from portrait to landscape mode on your iPhone, you lose your place in the article. But that’s minor nitpicking on an otherwise great product.