Marco Arment was the lead developer of the popular Tumblr micro-blogging site. But, he may be even better known as the developer of the highly regarded $4.99 Instapaper app for the iPhone and iPad. Instapaper can clip and save a web link along with the contents of the web page associated with the link. It provides a simple way to archive and retrieve interesting content for reading later. Many iOS apps let you clip and save directly to Instapaper.
Yesterday, however, Apple announced a new feature in Safari mobile for the iPhone and iPad that seems to work a lot like Instapaper. This new feature is named “Reading List.”
iOS 5: Features that go further (iOS 5 product information)
So, what does Marco Arment think about this? Fortunately, we don’t have to speculate since he wrote a blog post addressing this potential problem.
He notse that fewer than 1% of iOS device owners have bought Instapaper despite the fact that the app is consistently int he top 10 of the App Store News category. He believes that this means that many millions of iPhone and iPad users are not aware of what something like Instapaper or Reading List can offer them. He may be right based on the track record of alternative browsers. Paid browser apps like Atomic Web Browser and Skyfire have done well despite the fact that Apple’s own Safari mobile browser is part of the delivered package. Other currently available apps that overlap in function with new iOS 5 features will also have to differentiate themselves by the time fall and iOS 5 rolls around.