Update: A number of apps announced Readability integration not long after I originally wrote this, so I’ve been updating the list in stride. Have I missed any? Let me know.
Readability is my read-later service of choice these days, partly because of its polished design and clever URL shortener, but primarily because the service lets me directly contribute to the sites I read most. Its official iOS apps have been caught up in App Store review hell for some odd reason, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the service on your iPad and iPhone now.
A handful of apps already support sending links to Readability or pulling your article list down for offline reading. I own and have used all of these, and they do their job well:
This list has grown since I originally wrote this post, but I’ve been updating it as more apps announce Readability features. The service seems to be gaining steam with a steady flow of useful, well-designed features that offer perks for both developers and users.
Gina Trapani ported her Todo.txt app from Android to iOS and shares some thoughts and first-day sales:
The app has been live in the iTunes Store for just over 24 hours, and it’s gotten 11 five-star ratings and one one-star rating, and eight reviews, all positive with one exception. But what about sales compared to the Android app’s launch day?
40% More iOS Apps Sold on the First Day of Sales Than Android
That sound you hear is thousands upon thousands of writers perking up at the potential of a 1.3 pound writing machine that can roam on 3G and last nearly 10 hours on a charge.
Consumer 2 is now in the App Store. I think Bjango is great, and so is this app: Consume lets you track usage for tons of services like your mobile phone, broadband, rewards cards, packages, and more.
This huge upgrade makes Consume universal for iPad and iPhone, adds iCloud for syncing your accounts between devices, history graphs, and more.
Consumer 2 is a free upgrade if you already own it. If you want to hop on board, it’s just $3.
In case you’ve never heard of an iPhone or used the internet until today, Flipboard for iPhone is out and it’s fantastic. The wait was well worth it, as the team nailed the feature set and a ton of fantastic bits of polish throughout.
Even the launch screen is great, with subtle animation creating interest and drawing your eye to how to get started. My screenshots don’t do it much justice: the woman is actually moving the binoculars, and the bottom of the page occasionally flips up like a flag in a gentle breeze to reveal startup and login options. Once you answer its call, you are instantly taught how flipping through pages works in Flipboard for iPhone—vertically, instead of horizontally like on the iPad.
I find it both astounding and depressing that an app of such high quality is being given away for free by a new startup (which is making money through content deals), when apps from traditional publishers are so mind-numbingly terrible.
For all of Apple’s pontificating about the App Store being a place for great apps and premium experiences, there is a tremendous lack of both in the App Store’s Newsstand.
Some apps, like New York Times, don’t allow basic copy and paste or even just highlighting a single word to define it. Many, such as Computer Arts and The Daily, use poor, custom-built code to needlessly recreate popular and freely accessible UI tools like Cover Flow. Many are glorified, phoned-in PDF replicas of the print version.
There are three fingers to point for this predicament, one each at publishers, Adobe, and Apple. There’s no way actual human beings at most of these publishers have spent any real time with their first round of iPad and Newsstand apps. If I’m wrong, then we may have a George Lucas Paradox: the people in charge of these experiences can’t tell they’re crap, yet no one in a position of influence is willing to stand up and speak the truth.
Then there’s Adobe, the insidious dealer of broken platforms and promises. The software maker seems to have hooked most publishers with its vapid “write once, run anywhere” mantra, which is simultaneously depressing and hilarious considering Adobe has become a design company that can’t tell bad design when it’s respnsible for flooding an entire corner of the App Store ecosystem with it.
Apple doesn’t get a free pass here, either. The self-professed Defender Against Terrible Experiences is turning a blind eye and a fattening wallet away from one of the most important yet neglected industries for iOS devices, one that is fumbling through what could have been a wonderful reinvention for the digital age.