If you're the sort of person who reads a ton of books from Amazon's Kindle service on your iOS device (like we do), you might be happy to learn that the e-retailing behemoth is introducing a service that will let you "borrow" as many books as you want per month. Amazon is calling it Kindle Unlimited, and it will set you back $10 each month.
Audiobooks are great because they mean you can enjoy a book while doing something else — or just because it’s always nice to have a book read to you! Though Siri on the iPad offers voice control and dictation, it can't “convert” your books into audio books — however, all is not lost. There is a great app available called Natural Reader that reads out the text from all kinds of documents, including Word files, PDF documents, and ePub digital books — you can even use it with web pages.
If you think of your high school English classes when you hear poetry, you probably don't have great memories of the form. Poetry can get a bad, but it's one of the most influential literary forms. Ideas hatched in poems hundreds of years ago still influence today's authors. It's an art form that can be the best vessel to display beautiful language and if you've been dismissing it all these years, it's time to get back into it. Since April was National Poetry Month, we've collected eight apps for you to download so you can reacquaint with the classics, enjoy some modern day gems, and even start writing your own poems.
From the moment the App Store launched, The New York Times has been at the forefront of the digital newspaper revolution. There's been a constant stream of apps and subscriptions, but for the most part, its initiatives have revolved around an unimaginative repackaging of the paper. With NYT Now, the Gray Lady seems to have figured out a formula that may pay off. Rather than delivering a rich stew teeming with every subject it has to offer, the app serves as sort of a greatest hits package, aimed at casual readers who might not have such a ravenous news appetite.
When it comes to digital comic books for smartphones and tablets, ComiXology is the undisputed champ, whose service even powers Marvel and DC's mobile apps — which is no doubt why Amazon has decided to scoop them up.
The loss of Google Reader and the dawn of Flipboard-style news apps have tested the resolve of many RSS fans, but at least one champion for the medium hopes to change the way we read news on our iPhone with "a little peace each day through quiet, careful reading." That’s the lofty philosophy behind Unread, an RSS-based reader app that promises to "surprise and delight" users. Unfortunately, the first part of that equation came with the realization that there is no native iPad support – a shame considering that’s where the bulk of my reading is done, aside from perusing a few headlines while on the go.
On the surface, Paper looks a lot like what might have happened had Facebook invented Flipboard before Flipboard got the chance, and then slapped on a moniker rather too similar to an existing hugely popular (but entirely different) iOS app. Move beyond the snark, though, and you realize something surprising: Paper makes using Facebook almost pleasurable again. Facebook on desktop ceased to be fun a long time ago, and even the once-streamlined mobile app is increasingly full of cruft. The idea with Paper appears to be to strip everything back, bring stories to the fore, and turn the Facebook experience into a kind of edited newspaper.
We're constantly amazed by the amount of reading we do on our iPhones. Thanks to Retina displays that have all but eliminated eye strain, we're frequently buzzing through lengthy feature articles, flipping the pages of comics, and even curling up with occasional full-length novels, all without reaching for our iPads. But iPhones aren't exactly built for fast reading. Whether we're pinching and swiping to properly position text or constantly scrolling to get through lengthy works, the tiny screen is often a detriment to our concentration.