Instapaper Goes Freemium With Big iOS Redesign

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Instapaper, bringing bookmarks into the future, has just launched a big redesign of the iOS version of the app with loads of new features and a brand new business model.

betaworks’-owned Instapaper has always been a paid product, going for between $3 and $4 dollars on mobile and costing approximately $1/month as a subscription. Today, the company is pivoting to entirely free apps and services, with an option to get unlimited access to a host of new features.

With the launch of Instapaper 6, iOS users will now be able to save any article with a single tap thanks to the open System Share Sheet in iOS 8. Before, users had to copy and paste the link and save it in the Instapaper app, or email the link to their personal Instapaper email to cue it up in the app. The one-click save also hooks into notifications to keep a list of your latest saved articles in the iOS Notifications center.

iOS was the last of Instapaper’s products (such as the Android app and the web version) to not include a single save button, so this marks a big step forward for the app.

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Instapaper is also introducing text-to-speech with the help of Apple’s text-to-speech synthesizer, letting users listen to their saved articles at times when reading isn’t an option.

All of the above features are free, but premium users will have access to text-to-speech playlists as well as unlimited highlighting (free users are limited to five highlights per month). This will let users listen to their own curated podcast of articles while they drive or go for a job without switching manually.

Instapaper 6 also introduces profiles so that users can follow their friends’ reads, as well as a unified search for any text within the app.

Instapaper was acquired by betaworks in 2013, and General Manager Brian Donohue has since been trying to get Instapaper to a place where it can go freemium. When it was first launched as a consumer product, Instapaper had little to no competition.

“When Pocket launched with a great, free product, it became harder to justify a paid product when we had a solid free competitor,” said Donohue. “With Premium, we want to let free users have most of the same features while giving premium users special or unlimited access to them.”

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New pricing takes the apps to a free download and asks for $2.99/month or $29.99/year. To learn more, head over to the website here.