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In the ever-evolving world of technology, where services and gadgets alike always seem to be taking on more and more abilities, it isn't surprising that some folks may long for the good old days (like five years ago) when a website or application did one thing exceedingly well. That's the theme that drives Longform, a website-turned-iPad-app that curates all the best content across the web.
Longform is great for anyone who is constantly scouring for long articles that deliver interesting information, intriguing narratives, or just excellent journalism. You'll get the words of some of the best lengthy articles to be posted to the web. From Wired to Slate, you can subscribe to 25 excellent sources of great reads, accessible both online and offline. Your view of it is customizable with adjustable fonts, margins, and the ability to switch between browser-style "web" or the text-only "read" view.
The biggest potential dig against the app is also its main feature: Simplicity. For as well as Longform executes its main goal of delivering fine pieces of non-fiction writing, there are plenty of apps out there that do it just as well, albeit with a bit more user initiative involved.
Plus, you can bookmark your finds in Longform to tackle later on services like Instapaper, Readability and Read It Later. It's a little odd that an app would allow bookmarking with competing apps, but given the knack for grabbing extended articles, Longform could serve as an excellent niche content aggregator. The problem is that $4.99 is a steep price to pay for finding the occasional read-worthy article.
The bottom line. If you're a big fan of lengthy, in-depth articles, Longform will bring the best pieces right to your fingertips. It just doesn't do much else, nor does it do anything that different from similar apps. As the title appropriately indicates, it's a great way to locate long-form content; but with little else to offer, some may find the price point a bit much for such a simple service.
iPad running iOS 4.3 or later
Elegant design. Great content from all over the web. Ability to read articles offline for when you're away from Wi-Fi or a decent 3G connection.
Aside from a focus on lengthy pieces, Longform doesn't do much that's terribly new. Great for extended trips, but not so much quick reads. Lacks standout features.