App of the week: Pocket

This week I take a look at Pocket, a beautifully designed and unashamedly simple app that allows you to quickly and easily save items on the web for later viewing on an iDevice.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a large exhibition centre picking up my race number for my first ever half marathon. As I waited with my friends in the queue, I realised that the last time I was at this venue was in 1997, when my dad took me to one of Cape Town’s first ever computer technology exhibitions. It was at that event that I first experienced the internet.

I remember it very clearly. After paying a dodgy looking 90s geek (back then they all looked dodgy though) for a CD containing numerous demos and shareware programs, we walked over to the stand of one of the first South African ISP’s and asked exactly what this internet thing was. Astounded by the beauty of Netscape Navigator and how much Yahoo knew about frogs (I was put on the spot by yet another 90s geek) I begged my father to take the internet home with us. He bought us a 14.4kbps modem (long before those grey 56k US Robotics modems became so popular) and a years package with this ISP. I remember getting home, getting everything sorted on our IBM 486 and after a couple of hours troubleshooting, clicking connect. That was the first time I ever heard that beautiful, scratchy dial-up tone, and unbeknownst to me, my life had changed forever.

Back then though, well for me anyway, the net was something I used for school projects when Encarta ’95 started getting old, or to find cheats for video games I was playing at that time. These days though, the Internet is a massive part of our lives, whether we like it or not. My whole career, and the industry I work in for that matter, is built on the Internet and its capabilities. Everyday we are exposed to thousands of links, articles, pictures and conversations, and it is literally impossible to keep up and take it all in.

That why I love Pocket.

Pocket, formerly Read It Later, is an app for both the iPad and iPhone that allows you to save anything on the web for later. Simply email the link to your Pocket account and it instantly ends up on whichever device you’ve installed the app on. I find that it work exceptionally once you install the Pocket browser extension, which allows you to save things to Pocket by just clicking on the icon in the address bar. So, that article on Diablo III‘s release date that you saw on Twitter but couldn’t read because you had to get that proposal out before 12, is now put in Pocket. That amazing cover version of Radiohead’s Creep by Carrie Manolakos that your colleague told you to check out but your boss was standing right behind you, can now be listened to later in Pocket. It really is as simple as clicking a button, and your productivity is undisturbed because you know you can read/watch/listen to everything whenever you want.

So once you have some time to kill and can’t bear to go without your Internet treats for any longer, you open up Pocket on your iPad or iPhone and all your treasures are saved in a beautiful, almost Flipboard-like interface that is clean, functional and just damn right perfect. Once you’re finished with an item, you can then share with all of your social networks and integrate with over 300 other apps. The user interface is intuitive and brilliantly designed, items in your pocket can be deleted, tagged, starred or shared with minimal effort.

The app allows you to sort items based on what they are and I’m assuming there’s not much of a limit to how many items you can store in it. When it comes down to it, it’s all just links, so the app comes with a search function for all you bookmark hoarders out there. What I like most about Pocket is that after downloading the articles to your device, they are fully loaded and ready to be read, even when you find yourself without a connection, great for those quick flights around the country.

I highly recommend Pocket to anyone who spends a lot of time online for work purposes, where the temptation of reading interesting articles and watching funny videos is too great. Even for those of who don’t have that problem, Pocket is free and one of my must-haves for the iPad.

Name: Pocket
Seller: Idea Shower
Category: Productivity
Size: 6.1 MB
Price: Free

Available for iPhone and iPad



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