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.
With a bit of flair, Yahoo News Digest dials down its mountain of news coverage to find the top articles and deliver them to your iPhone as rich, twice-daily bulletins. Much like its weather app, Yahoo! has crafted a delightfully simple interface that lets you read and navigate articles with ease. Each digest (delivered at 8am and 6pm ET) presents around 10 stories from a variety of subjects.
There's just something about a new calendar that makes us want to better ourselves. Every January 1, we set a series of seemingly attainable goals that we have every intention of keeping — but by the time spring rolls around, we've either forgotten, procrastinated, or just plain given up. But with the help of a few strategic apps, this year you can resolve to break that trend. Here are 10 such options that’ll help you stay on track in 2014.
In some games, story is the spice; in others, it’s the whole meal. Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! fell into the latter category, as a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style series of choices unwrapped into seemingly endless possibilities. Sorcery! 2 is largely a continuation rather than a fresh iteration on the concept, since it’s meant to pick up right where the last one left off — though new players can start fresh here if they see fit. And while it’s a little less novel this time around, the game still packs the unique flavor that made the first such a unique treat.
In Device 6, a new spy-themed interactive fiction game from Simogo (Year Walk, Beat Sneak Bandit), text is used with verve and clarity, as sharp prose maps out protagonist Anna’s journey around a mysterious island. It’s not just that Device 6 is text-based – it’s that the text dances around the iPhone or iPad screen. As Anna turns down a hallway, the words also bank at a hard right angle; when she climbs a spiral staircase, her story and your device screen spin with her.
There are plenty of free iPad apps for entertaining toddlers, but few have much real educational value. This isn’t a problem for Learn with Homer, an app created by top literacy experts that overflows with well-crafted early learning content. Aimed at ages three to six, Learn with Homer makes reading fun and instructive. Upon launch, up to three different little ones can customize the app with a photo from the front-facing camera, which is then decorated with one of several virtual “thinking caps.” It’s a fun way to set the stage for what lies ahead.
If you're an avid reader of Vanity Fair who's constantly on the move, you'll be pleasantly surprised to learn that the popular publication has launched an iPhone version tailored specifically for you. The app is reported to contain the full content of the print magazine, all while categorizing articles according to how long it takes to read them.
With a 24/7 news cycle constantly spitting headlines every which way, staying informed can be a daunting task. A bunch of apps have tried to solve this problem in unique ways, but the better they are, the quicker they seem to get acquired, shut down, and folded into other services. Wibbitz just might be the next candidate for a headline-grabbing mega-sale. With a delightful interface and spot-on article summaries, Wibbitz creates beautiful mini-videos of the day's news, combining photos, graphics, and fonts into a stunning package.
When it comes to Google Reader replacements, can there be only one? The folks behind Feedly seem to believe there’s room for everyone, and have engineered a cloud sync solution that extends its reach across rival apps and onto competing platforms. Feedly’s own free, universal app is a spectacularly polished effort capable of turning websites into beautiful, swipe-ready cards. If that’s not your cup of tea, content can also be viewed in title-only, list, or even Flipboard-style magazine views, making it one of the most customizable news readers we’ve ever used.
To die-hard news junkies, word that Google Reader would be put down like a sick animal came as quite a shock. Developers instead saw this as an opportunity to fill that gaping hole with something fresh – a challenge the new owners of Digg quickly attacked with their own shovels. The result is Digg Reader. It's not a separate product, but rather a feature bolted onto the existing web service and now added to the free, universal iOS app. For existing Digg users, the app offers the best of both worlds: All the Top Stories they know and love, plus favorite RSS feeds rescued from Google Reader. Sadly, it's rather short on features and functionality for RSS power users.