Back in April of this year, the popular service Read It Later was revamped and completely renewed, completely with a brand new name, Pocket. Pocket continues to be one of the popular mobile apps that is always featured on roundups of must-have apps for your iPhone or Android device.
Today, the developers of the hit bookmarking service released Pocket for Mac, an official client for the service on OS X, to work alongside and in sync with other platforms. If you’ve been using Read Later on your Mac, the release of Pocket for Mac replaces that too with developer Michael Schneider having worked on the official client. Shall we take a look?
What is Pocket?
Pocket is a “read it later”-style service that allows users to bookmark parts of the webs to be read in the future. The basic premise is that you come across an article you like and then “pocket” it in a central location, one that can be accessed from a variety of platforms including your mobile and, from today, your Mac (at least, officially).
Pocket for Mac is a brand new app, but it’s been designed with Michael Schneider, developer of the aforementioned Read Later app. It borrows some of nuances from Read Later but combines it with the beautiful design of Pocket, as Schenider explains below.
We took everything you love about Read Later and made it better, incorporating Pocket’s beautiful design and functionality. I hope you like it.
The only bad thing is, the original Read Later app has been pulled from the App Store and won’t be supported going forward. If you were using it to read Instapaper articles on your Mac, you’ll have to look elsewhere, perhaps to the Words app. Still, for Pocket users, the new version is a big boon.
Once you’ve installed the app, you’ll get a short tutorial of sorts introducing you to the service. You should take the hint to get some extensions for your browsers setup — if you haven’t already used the service — allowing for fast bookmarking and storage of articles into Pocket. Likewise, it might be worth taking this opportunity to download the mobile apps to your devices too.
The design of Pocket is very familiar to other reading apps. By default, there’s two panes: one for a piece of selected content and the other for your list of saved items. As previously mentioned, you can use your browser to save items, but you can also save items from the mobile apps and even straight from your clipboard.
I didn’t actually have the Pocket extension installed in Safari, but in seconds I had it up and running. Then, when I started adding in articles, they instantly appeared in Pocket for Mac. The whole setup is fluid and seamless — it just works.
Editor’s Note: And if you’d prefer to use a bookmarklet, you can just drag it to your bookmarks bar. If you’re using Safari, seconds later you’ll see the bookmarklet synced via iCloud to your other Macs and iOS devices. That’s a rather handy way to get Pocket saving ready everywhere!
When the times comes to read the articles you’ve saved, they’re presented, by default, in an optimised view that gets rid of the clutter from the original webpage. This is done much in the same way as features like Reader in Safari, which rids you of anything but the content you actually want. This isn’t for everyone, and fortunately there’s a simple switch at the top of the app that will launch you into an embedded browser showing the original source. Though, you should note that the optimized articles will be downloaded for offline reading, while you’ll have to be online to see the full, original articles.
As is expected with this kind of optimised view, you can manipulate the typography to better suit you by changing the size, presence of serifs in the typeface and switch between left and print-style justified alignments. We’d expect these features from any app that uses these kind of features, so it’s certainly welcome to have them in Pocket. One thing to note is that you can’t chose your own font, and rather can only choose from one serif and one sans-serif font.
Articles can also be starred to be organised by a filter later on, and also tagged to gain a similar way of organisation. You can also share articles right from within Pocket for Mac on a number of platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.
Design and Interface
Simply put, Pocket looks great. It’s fairly minimalist, allowing most of the app’s real estate to be dedicated to the content itself. Most of the actual functionality comes from the handful of buttons across the top so Pocket utilises the simplicity and intuitive nature of its iOS origins.
Pocket is one of the simplest app available for its purpose. It’s a tad too simple, though, if you’re used to the options in the original Read Later app, but then again, it’s got just what’s needed for simple offline reading on your Mac.
Pocket for Mac is sound in both function and design. If you’re looking for an app to fill this purpose, chances are that Pocket is the perfect one. It’s already established mobile apps and browser extensions make it super easy to get up and going not only on your Mac, but all your devices.
In testing, we didn’t notice any stability or performance issues with Pocket. It’s just an overall well-rounded app that would be most welcome sitting in your Mac’s dock.