Read It Later
Apples and Androids
Readability is a close cousin of Instapaper: both beautifully and minimally designed “read it later” apps built right here in New York. The two have even collaborated. But while Instapaper’s Marco Arment dropped the free version of his app and now charges everyone $4.99, Readability just announced it’s dropped the paid version and making all its features, which included unlimited access to reading list, favorites and an archive, for free.
Free Me Uhm
Instapaper creator Marco Arment is an Apple acolyte who pointedly and repeatedly refuses to develop an Android version of his popular reading app. In fact he often takes to his blog to bash Google’s mobile OS, berating its commercial potential and enumerating the woes he would have should he someday have the misfortune of developing for Android.
But last night the guys from Shift Jelly, a mobile development shop in Australia, managed to get Mr. Arment’s attention.
You might not be a readability user, but chances are if you’re a tablet owner, you’re relying on their technology everyday.
“It’s a very popular tool,” says Rich Ziade, founder partner of Readability, about the text parsing tool the company developed under the Apache license. “When you’re on an device from Apple or Amazon and you click through to the article view, that’s Readability you’re using.”
Does he regret that his small startup won’t ever benefit from licensing fees these large tech giants could easily afford to pay? “I try not to dwell on the past,” said Mr. Ziade with a wry chuckle. “I think we’re still at the beginning of this movement towards a more readable web.”
First World Problems
Marco Arment is an Apple purist, so it’s natural that the newest release of his popular app, Instapaper 4.0, treats the iPad and the iPhone as distinct devices worthy of their own details.
On his blog Mr. Arment notes, “The iPad browsing interface has been completely redesigned to feel more at home in the iPad environment. Instead of just being a blown-up full-screen list, it’s now a more touch-friendly grid, with all navigation available in any orientation.”
Instapaper creator Marco Arment has some very strong opinions on how people should consume the internet. Putting a bunch of high volume feeds into your RSS reader, for instance, is a rookie mistake that Mr. Arment considers downright destructive, although he admits, “Abuse is probably a more accurate term, then, but it sounds ridiculous to call such a trivial, first-world problem ‘RSS abuse.'”
David and Goliath
The ongoing drama from an FBI raid that seized three racks of servers at a data center in Virginia continues to grow. Damage in the New York startup scene was thought to be limited to Curbed, until Marco Arment dropped this blog bombshell.
What the FBI stole from Instapaper
The Tao of Steve
When Apple announced at their recent WWDC that they would be building an Instapaper like feature right into iOS 5, founder Marco Arment went on something of an emotional roller coaster.
But in a wide-ranging interview with Mac Observer today, Mr. Arment says reports of his death are greatly exaggerated. “Apple’s Reading List leaves a lot of holes. It’s very, very basic. And I strongly predict to anybody who’s trying to predict my death to try it first.”
We witnessed something on Twitter today that one rarely finds in 140 characters: raw, human emotions. Lots of them. All jumbled and up and in conflict with one another, coming from every which way. It was sort of like watching the cycle of grief in real-time. Join us, if you will, down the rabbit hole of Instapaper founder Marco Arment’s Twitter feed as he heard Steve Jobs & Co. announce what sounded an awful lot like the death knell of Instapaper.
Thanks to the incredibly successful Instapaper, the Apple App Store has become Marco Arment’s bread and butter. But that means he’s at the mercy of Apple’s stringent guidelines and app review process, which have given thousands of developers including Mr. Arment and, more severely, his friends at Readbility, trouble in the past.
Marco Arment delivered his diatribe on the death of Instapaper’s free app today. It’s amazing just how different his approach to business is from his former employer, Tumblr.
Because Instapaper is an ongoing service, as opposed to a game you download once that doesn’t require updates, users represent a continued cost to Arment. Even over time, he doesn’t feel most would add up to $3.50 worth of ad impressions.