Read Later Apps

Back when Instapaper was first released mobile networks were slow and in many places non-existant. Podcasts and streaming services were in their infancy, phone screens were small, mobile sites were terrible and subway cars were completly offline. It was really great to have an app that would save and download articles while cutting out the web cruft so that you could read and enteratin yourself when you next found yourself in an offline state.

When Instapaper stopped innovating there were many others of which Pocket and Reeder 3 were among my favorites. They iterated on the old paradigm I describe above but I have found ym own needs and the environment around them have both changed.

I now favor Read Later clients which operate more like bookmark managers. Two of my favorites are Keep and Abyss. I had discovered this preference change when I first tried Abyss which was so perfectly simple. Save your articles and they appear in a tableview. Tap on them and they open a webview. I realized I didn’t need articles to be offline (especially the last few weeks), my screens are all quite big and mobile sites can be pretty good now and stripped out all the “crust” robbs the articles experience. The other major benefit is that you can save non-articles, say the website for a new tool you want to check out, and they are treated as any other read later content. The one thing that bothered me about Abyss was that on very large screens like my 12.9” iPad Pro the tableview showed an overwhelming number of links on my screen.

MacStories wrote this week about Keep and I’m all in (and went Premium). The free version is similar paradigm to Abyss but looked better on big screens and has a few quality of life enhancements. However the major feature of premium which I just started experimeting with is that it can read out loud your articles. It uses Googles voice APIs and it sounds pretty good. My biggest question is if I can fit any more audio into my information diet right now.