“If I Had a Dollar”is a series that highlights one useful or entertaining app per week that costs less than $1. Skip your vending machine soda and try some new apps!
Apple’s App of the Week deal is a pretty standard one — the company spotlights an app at a usually discounted rate for exposure. It’s always worth checking out, and this week, it’s the best place to “spend” your dollar. That’s because this week, one of the greatest iOS apps, Instapaper, has dropped its price from $3.99 to absolutely free.
Instapaper is the pioneer of offline read-it-later apps, and it’s managed to remain minimalist and utilitarian while continually introducing new features and adding support to the system — this year, for instance, it added a much-needed video feature so you can actually consume media while not being connected to the Internet.
In addition to its clean and easy interface, it plays nicely with just about any other service available on iOS. I personally use it to save important articles and press releases early in the morning for work, and for Longreads and Twitter recommendations for leisure. There’s a satisfying feeling to clicking the Instapaper icon in an app or a bookmark in a browser, knowing that your data will be stored somewhere offline — and Instapaper is arguably the most reliable and intuitive app for this out there.
Plus, did I mention it’s completely free? Instapaper has gone on sale before, but the opportunity to test drive it for iOS — including iPad — is one that even curious users should take advantage of posthaste. The deal will only last through tomorrow.
Unfortunately, the Instapaper deal does not extend to Android, although it does come at a lower price than iOS traditionally sell for at $2.99. But, since this is the Dollar App feature, it’s kind of disingenuous to recommend the app anyway. Instead, those curious about reading offline should try out many of Android’s free offerings, particularly Pocket.
Like Instapaper, Pocket easily allows users to save webpages for offline perusing later, including videos and photos. It’s also completely free, which is a plus for those who are hesitant to spend a little coin on a service.
But Pocket has some minor hangups — particularly wonky saves every once in a while, largely due to the article’s initial bad ad layouts. I’ve also noticed that it crashes on occasion, particularly when going in and out of video. But for a no-cost alternative, Pocket gets the job done and then some, continually offering new features and working with apps just as smoothly as Instapaper.
Take some time today to download these apps, and experience the joy of being able to take in a long read while commuting without worrying about the internet.
Instapaper is available for free (for a limited time) on the iTunes App Store, and Pocket is available for free on Google Play.
Do you have an app that is worth my dollar? Send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Dollar App” and the app’s name in the subject line.