In July 2008, when Marco Arment submitted Instapaper to the fledgling App Store, there was no preconceived blueprint of how a “read it later” service should look and behave. In fact, outside of Apple’s guidelines, there was no notion of how any app ought to do so — iPhone OS was truly open season for developers. Where others found instant competition, Marco had the enviable opportunity to define an entire genre of app himself. 5 years later, his trailblazing app is now helmed by Betaworks, and yet, time seems to be repeating itself.
Betaworks’ acquisition of Instapaper came with just a hint of serendipity, occurring just over a month before the announcement of iOS 7 at WWDC. With that, the single most drastic architectural overhaul of iOS was thrust upon developers, and just like 2008, Instapaper was handed a clean slate to work with. However, with competitors abound and a dedicated user base to consider, any missteps could prove costly. With an array of new abilities available for use, is Instapaper version 5 a chapter of consolidation or a bold invention?