When Apple released iOS 7.1 to the public in early March, many heralded it as the version of iOS 7 that should have shipped last September in 2013; iOS 7.1 is what iOS 7 should have been. Faced with severe time constraints, however, the popular narrative paints a picture of Apple having no choice but to release what many would come to call a half-baked product or slip on their intended release date. Unsurprisingly, the desire to stick with the latter made the former a necessity, and thus we found ourselves with the oft-criticized iOS 7.
Prior to Betaworks released Instapaper 5, I wrote a lengthy article detailing my hopes for the popular read later service’s next major version. Then, when Betaworks finally launched the new and improved Instapaper in conjunction with iOS 7’s release, I once again put pen to paper, except this time to express my disappointment: the app read as little more than a superficial redesign, and the website counterpart would have looked and worked better in the state Marco had left it, in my opinion. Just as iOS 7 appeared to have suffered greatly at the hands of a time constraint, so, too, did Instapaper 5 apparently suffer for lack of time spent in development as Betaworks readied it for the fast-approaching iOS 7 debut. But just as iOS 7.1 redeemed the operating system and fixed many of its preceding version’s shortcomings, Instapaper 5.2, released yesterday afternoon, did as well.
Sporting completely new interfaces in both the web and iPhone app, with a minor update for the iPad counterpart, Instapaper looks truly fantastic. More importantly though, it works great everywhere: on top of the addition of Highlights, a greatly sought-after feature that eluded both Marco Arment and, after its sale, Betaworks as well for quite some time, a number of other nice usability and interface tweaks, as well as the addition of “Storm" — a new theme between Sepia and Dark — , make Instapaper a great pleasure to use once again on mobile. And as if these changes were not enough though, a similarly drastic UI overhaul on the web side of things has taken Instapaper from an embarrassment to the epitome of design done well both in terms of beautiful aesthetics and remarkable usability. In tandem with the continued improvement of its parsing engine, Betaworks has finally snapped the last thorns pushing me to try Pocket and consider moving to Pinboard, and once again bound me — deservedly, and to my great delight — to their platform with these fantastic updates.
Instapaper 5.2 is what Instapaper 5 should have been, and it’s really, really awesome.