I'm an iPod touch owner and as such don't have a mobile data option to fall back on when consuming information. I discovered Instapaper (via Dom I think) before I had an iPod Touch and long before the Apple App Store existed.

Instapaper is a simple service which allows the user to store a webpage to read later. No tagging, no date, just a list of articles to read. There is a handy javascript bookmarklet on their faq page to make the bookmarking process quicker. I used this quite often initially but then just didn't check to see what was there waiting for me for a while.


When the app store opened I spotted an Instapaper app and as it was free downloaded it for a look. Not only did it keep a handy list of everything I'd marked that I wanted to read at some point, but it made them available to be read offline - perfect. So, for instance, this weekend I've been away from wifi access but have been able to get through a backlog of interesting blog posts and articles. On the Instapaper iPod Touch/iPhone interface there is a refresh icon, selecting this sends Instapaper off to slurp down the latest content. Within the settings there is the option to render the articles as text, or as graphical pages - graphical pages takes longer, but is richer. I tend to use text only.

I often use the wifi properties of my iPod touch to catch up on my RSS feeds via google reader. This works fine, and occasionally I will come across something that is too long for casual browsing, and that I'd rather read later via Instapaper. The mobile google reader interface makes this a bit of a convoluted process.


Stage 1: When I spot an article I want to mark for reading later, I need to click on the See Original link


Stage 2: When the article opens up it will be still in a compact mobile style, so I need to scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the View in HTML link.


Stage 3: Finally the article opens up in its native format, and I can then use the Read Later bookmarklet to add this to my Instapaper collection. If I try and bookmarket it at Stage 2, then on the Instapaper main screen I see the title rendered in gray and if I click on it then it opens safari and browses straight to the google reader interpretation.

In summary, the only 2 areas of functionality that would make this app even better for me are

  1. the ability to send a link to del.icio.us for archiving
  2. the ability to tag articles so that I could decide whether I was in the mood for a photography related read, or something to do with running or maybe something .Net or SQL related.
Other than that it is an excellent app which I make a lot of use of.