Longform iPad app serves up feature writing at its best

Feb 9, 2012
Tech

With so much web content written to fit in a status message or 140 characters, finding in-depth articles has become somewhat difficult. Since 2010, Longform.org has been challenging that problem, by combing the web for the best in long-form journalism and writing. Now the site has brought its service directly to iPad with Longform. In […]

With so much web content written to fit in a status message or 140 characters, finding in-depth articles has become somewhat difficult. Since 2010, Longform.org has been challenging that problem, by combing the web for the best in long-form journalism and writing. Now the site has brought its service directly to iPad with Longform.

In Longform, users will be able to access the website’s feed of stories directly in the app. Upon opening a story, users will be able to view the content on its native website, or in Longform’s pleasantly stripped-down read format. This is how you should be reading content in Longform, so I was surprised the app doesn’t default to this automatically. In fact, you have to turn on this option in the in-app settings panel. In read format, you can manipulate the type size and line spacing to your specifications.

Longform’s site feed comes standard in the app, but you can also add feeds from more than 25 partner sites, including GQ, Wired and Slate. Longform will automatically strip out shorter stories and provide you with only the best in longer features. You can share this content over a variety of standard social networks, or you can add a story to a bookmark service such as Read It Later, Instapaper or Readability. Readability users will also be able to access saved stories on their feed through Longform, which is a definite app enhancement. As an Instapaper fan, I do wish Longform offered this option to that service’s users, too, but it might be enough to make me give Readability a look. Longform’s best feature is that all content is automatically downloaded for offline reading, which makes the app ideal for times when you’re out of Wi-Fi range.

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Really, Longform’s only downside is its price tag — currently a whopping $4.99. Longform is an austere app, and doesn’t really deliver in design terms what users probably will expect for $5. Longform’s content aggregation is what makes it worthwhile, and the app is definitely one to watch — either for a potential price drop or added features that could make the price tag more palatable.

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