Three of the apps I rely on most on my iPhone and iPad have all been recently updated with new features and improvements. The biggest update goes to Instapaper (now v2.3), which is an indispensable app for those who wish to save articles on the web for later offline reading (see our review). On the iPhone, users will now see the first few lines of text from articles in each row (previously only available to the iPad). New to both iPhone and iPad, the list now shows the approximate article length and progress read with rows of dots, much like on the Kindle’s home screen. The other new feature is the ability to enable “dark mode” automatically based on where you are (the app is now location-aware). So depending on what time it is on your iDevice, the app will invert the color scheme of the background (black) and text (white).
Next up is Evernote, another highly useful and popular cloud based notetaking app that lets users jot everything from notes, ideas, snapshopts to voice recordings on their iPhone/iPad (as mentioned in our Taking Notes on an iPad article) . The best part is that all this data syncs automatically with your Evernote account online and on your PC/Mac. As such, all your notes will always stay up-to-date, no matter which platform you’re using it on. With the new 3.4 update, users can now select multiple images from the camera roll (up to 5) or snap various pictures and add them into one photo-packed note. Audio note recordings has also been increased to 90 minutes, and they can now played, paused and replayed from within the note. The other significant addition is that with iOS 4.2, 3rd party developers will able to allow their apps to send PDFs, images and audio into Evernote, which will make transferring content into the app much more seamless.
Finally, Dropbox, another excellent cloud based service that syncs and shares files across multiple computers and online has also received some improvements and bugfixes. One of the biggest issues with the app before was that high resolution images were JPEG compressed and as a result, viewing them on the device was very blurry. Thankfully, your JPG, PNG and GIF files in your Dropbox account will now look much better while using app, be it on the iPhone or iPad.
Aside from being extremely useful, all three of these apps/services are free to use. Instapaper Free is, well, free (with less features) and Evernote and Dropbox provide for plenty of free storage/upload space for the average user (Premium monthly plans are available). The complete list of changes for each app can be seen below.
What’s New in Version 3.4.0
- Select multiple images from your camera roll at once and add them to a single note or make multiple snapshot notes
- Audio note recording limit increased to 90 minutes, great for lectures and interviews
- Audio recordings can now be played, paused and replayed from within the note
- Audio note playback can be controlled via the dock player, headphones or other external controls
- Send PDFs and text from Safari and Mail directly into Evernote via the “Open In” option
- 3rd party developers can configure their apps to send PDFs, images and audio into Evernote
- Print notes directly from Evernote to a network printer
- Numerous bug fixes and improvements
Evernote, Evernote, – Free
What’s New in Version 2.3
- Article list on iPhone now includes the first few lines of text from articles, like on iPad. On iPad, more text is now shown. The text is downloaded for new articles only: RE-DOWNLOAD ALL ARTICLES in Settings for it to apply to your previously downloaded articles.
- Article list now indicates approximate article length and progress with a row of dots, similar to how it’s done on a Kindle’s home screen.
- iPad updates are MUCH faster.
- iPhone can now toggle Dark mode from articles, like iPad, in the font panel.
- New option to switch to Dark mode automatically at night, based on sunset times in your region. (This is so cool.)
- Overhauled logins to tolerate username changes, give more helpful errors, and fix the “username is already taken” bug.
- New Sharing options: Send to OmniFocus, Send to QuickReader (supported by its next version), Copy Link, Copy Article Text. Also fixed sharing bugs with Twitter and Twittelator Pro.
- New option to skip the in-app Browser and open links directly in Safari.
- New feature to verify that you’re using the same account in the app and Mobile Safari and sync to your choice of accounts if they differ.
- Simplified bookmarklet installation and improved help text.
- Fixed handing of in-page anchors (including most footnotes) and mailto: links.
- Added support for the “ihttp://” URL scheme, so if you can’t get the bookmarklet, the email address, or Copy working to add pages, you can edit Safari’s URL field and insert an “i” before the “http://”, tap Go, and Instapaper will launch and offer to add that page.
- Fixed miscellaneous bugs.
What’s New in Version 1.3.1
– Persistent photo caching
– PNGs and GIFs no longer JPEG compressed when viewed on device
– Higher quality thumbnails on retinas devices
Improved scroll bar behavior & appearance in document viewer
- OS 4.2 compatibility
– Media player performance fixes, time remaining calculations
– Better handling of partially downloaded favorite files
– Properly handle the less common Office file type extensions (e.g., .PPSX, .XLSM)
– Re-enable selection of photos for upload across entire Photo Library
– Stability improvements
– Other miscellaneous fixes
Dropbox, Inc., Dropbox, 5.9 MB – Free