updated 11:30 pm EDT, Fri April 29, 2011
Safari Reading List apes Instapaper, Readability
Although some elements are available through digging, the code isn't active yet. As such, it might not show until a later developer preview of Lion or the beta expected to show at WWDC.
The basic concept of saving pages for later bears some similarity to Instapaper, but that service's creator Marco Arment said Friday that the feature was closer to Readability, whose goal is to strip down websites into a less distracting form for reading long articles. While he hadn't used it first hand, his view was that it wasn't directly cloning his work and wouldn't create a conflict of interest. He wasn't certain that it would be a threat even if it added iOS device syncing, in part because apps like Mail and Safari already haven't been competitive in aggregating reading material through their RSS feed tools.
In the Build & Analyze podcast, he likened Apple's move on his territory to that of Starbucks. The coffee shop often deliberately locates itself next to rival stores as a way of luring away business, but its relatively mediocre coffee and long queues ended up driving people back to independents with better products. It made Arment "uneasy," but Apple's tendency to do simple but limited features that didn't satisfy serious users was thought likely to drive users over to Instapaper.
He added that ideas often weren't unique and that the real achievement was simply getting it implemented first, suggesting that he might have beaten Apple to delivering offline, optimized web reading but that he wasn't necessarily first with the idea.