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Daily iPad App: Instapaper 4

Like to read? Got an iPhone or iPad? You really ought to have Marco Arment's US$4.99 Instapaper, which just got an upgrade to version 4.0. Instapaper's free web service allows you to flag stories to 'Read Later' with a single click, and you can always get your complete reading list via the site. For reading on the go, however, the cached stories in the app are ideal.

The Instapaper app now features an iPad-specific article list interface; it swaps out the simple headline-by-headline scroll for a more spacious grid arrangement, complete with the first few lines of the story. The iPhone version has been streamlined too, with story excerpts, bylines and site information clearly visible. iOS 5 users get true hardware brightness control, making it easier to read under varying lighting conditions.

Instapaper wants to let you know what your friends are reading, so now in addition to the stories flagged by your Instapaper-specific social connections, you can also browse all the linked stories posted by your Twitter and Facebook friends or by the Tumblr microblogs you follow (Arment is a founder and former CTO of Tumblr). For Instapaper subscribers who choose to fork over $1 a month to support the service, the app now includes full-text search of all the articles you've ever saved to Instapaper -- downright handy. You can see the full list of new features at Arment's blog.

If you're only using Instapaper via the website, you're not getting the full-on experience. There are very few apps that have made themselves a home on the front screens of both my iPhone and iPad, and even fewer that rate a spot in the app Dock for both devices. Instapaper has been firmly lodged there since version 1, and I don't anticipate pulling it out anytime soon.

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