Even before Betaworks acquired Marco Arment's successful read-it-later app Instapaper, the iOS hit was already fairly minimalistic in design. It presented users with their saved articles in an easy-to-read format and then got out of the way. But ahead of iOS 7's release on September 18th, Betaworks has updated the app with a fresh look that fits in nicely with Apple's overhauled OS. The goal, according to the company, was to align Instapaper with Jony Ive's user interface paradigms while "keeping the focus on clean, uncluttered reading." The team has largely succeeded on that front; we can't yet speak to how Instapaper 5.0 runs on iOS 7, but it performs without a hint of lag on iPhone 5. The overall experience feels familiar to that of the previous mobile app, but Betaworks has clearly taken care in refreshing the visuals here. You can expect to see similar changes extend to Instapaper for Android very soon.
The new Instapaper will feel right at home on iOS 7
Thankfully, the improvements aren't merely cosmetic. Betaworks has added the ability to sort your reading queue by date, an article's length, popularity, or shuffle them into a random order. You can also arrange articles according to Instapaper's best guess on how long they'll take to read. According to Betaworks, the popularity ranking that comes with this update uses "a bunch of interesting signals and math." And the company has also added a "video" tab for clips you've saved from YouTube or Vimeo. Video is one area where Instapaper has fallen behind its competitors, so it's nice to see a renewed focus on that aspect of the app.
Last but not least, Instapaper is also adding support for 13 new languages. Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Turkish, Russian, Dutch, and Polish are all included in the forthcoming update, which has already been submitted to Apple for release. Combine this update with the redesigned web version of Instapaper and it's clear that Betaworks isn't resting on its laurels when it comes to Arment's former project. Quite the opposite; improvements and new features feel as though they're coming faster than ever before.