I finally caved an picked up an iPod Touch this past weekend after learning about what to me is a killer app: Instapaper.
Here’s what it does:
You sign up for an account at Instapaper.com (free) then add a bookmarklet to your browser called “Read Later”. Then when you find yourself staring down a long online article that you’d really like to read – but not right now – you click the button.
Clicking the button snags the article on the page, takes out a lot of the junk (ads and images depending on how you’ve set it up), and stores the copy in your Instapaper account.
Now the fun begins. You can access those articles a number of different ways:
1. Via the web.
2. Via a smartphone’s browser (the articles are very mobile friendly compared to many of their original sources).
3. Or, via the iPhone app which syncs down a copy of your stored articles.
#3 is the one that convinced me that I needed an iPod Touch. My best catch-up time for longer articles is on planes, and the Instapaper App makes it easy to gather and consume the content during those hours.
There is a free and paid version ($9.99) of the app. I went with the paid because it offers more flexibility on fonts, night reading, and has a very cool tilt-to-scroll feature where you can gently tilt the iPhone back a bit to scroll the article – a great one-hand feature.
After my first Instapaper-enabled flight this week, I’m sold on this new workflow for processing longer online content.