Friday, October 05, 2012

10 Great Apps for Reading, Listening, & Study

There are plenty of apps available on the App Store for those who use the iPhone/iPad/iPod. But which are the best tools for reading, listening, and study purposes? In this blog post, I'll suggest 10 iPhone apps which have been of excellent service for my own study purposes. The first six are for reading, listening, and study, and the last four are Bible app suggestions.

1. Kindle. If you want access to your ebooks across various devices, you can't beat the Kindle app. If you own a Kindle or not, you can still read the books on the Mac, the PC, the iPad, iPhone, iPod, on the web, or on an Android device. Your books are  synced everywhere and you never are without a book. Great for uploading your own PDFs and documents for study as well.

2. Reeder. That's no misspelling. That's the name of my favorite mobile RSS reader. All of your subscribed blogs or google reader subscriptions are synced. From this app you can read, share, and browse all your RSS feeds for keeping abreast of the best apologetics blogs, for example. You can also send articles to other services for later reading if desired. There's also a desktop app for Mac and a great version for the iPad, both top notch RSS readers. I'd say the best.

3. Pocket. This app was formerly called "read it later," which is exactly what it allows you to do if you don't have time to read a particular blog post. If you find something interested online or in your RSS feeds, just send it to Pocket. Then you can read it later in a more attractive and easy-on-the eyes format. Again, this keeps in sync with your online Pocket account and you can keep all your reading material in sync.

4. Lisgo. This app is gold because it saves me so much time. Why? Because I don't always have time to "read it later." However, the Lisgo app syncs with your Pocket account and will read your blog posts to you aloud. The text-to-speech engine is pretty good and allows you to listen to blog posts while doing other things, like driving, doing chores, etc. The interface leaves much to be desired, frankly. But the concept and the function are extremely useful and straightforward.

5. iCatcher! I think I've been through every podcasting app out there, and none of them really do it right, in my opinion. However, iCatcher! is the best one I have found as far as practical functionality. It gives the user just the right amount of control over playlists, sorting, and podcast management, while balancing a relatively intuitive interface and full feature set. Of course, one important aspect is the speed function, allowing you to listen at faster rates for your chosen podcasts. This is a real time-saver. 

6. Swift Player & Downloader. This app is a recent find, and an instant favorite. Do you ever find a YouTube video that you want to watch, but don't have time to watch it sitting at your computer? And even if you did sit at your computer, the lecture is at normal speed and eats up and hour of time. This app makes it possible to download, save, and play videos from YouTube, Vimeo, and other sources for later listening... at variable speeds! That means you can watch/listen to that YouTube lecture at double speed while commuting. A superb app that I had been waiting to arrive for a long time. 

7. Tecarta Bible. Now that we're looking at Bible apps, we'll start with the one that's a no-frills, functional and straightforward tool. It's not distractingly pretty, like some others. And it's not got "feature-bloat", like some others. It's just a good everyday Bible app. However, the development seems slow from the company, with little movement on new features. But if you just want, for instance, a good "sturdy" app for reading the NIV and a few other versions, this might be a clean choice.

8. BibleReader by OliveTree. OliveTree have definitely got a great bunch of apps for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. They work well, look good, and have a lot of books available in their library. There are plenty of features, without overkill. Navigation and note-taking are both well-designed. This is probably my top choice when it comes to the best all-round Bible app for the iPhone/iPad/Mac. Of course, it all depends on your personal needs, but if you are evaluating Bible apps, OliveTree stuff should probably be around the top of your list.

9. Bible! by Logos. For those who own the Logos software for Mac or PC, this is a great companion app. The previous version was able to access your entire Logos library, but the interface was pretty horrible. However, the latest version is a complete re-design of the interface. Now you can get your entire library at your fingertips with ease. The interface can still be a challenge to learn, but when it comes to sheer power and quantity/quality of resources, there is probably no better tool than the Logos Bible! app for iPhone/iPad. 

10. ESV Study Bible+. For sheer beauty and for one dedicated Bible (not a million versions and distractions), just go for the ESV Study Bible+ app. Why? It's the best-looking Bible app with the best interface and a minimal amount of distraction, while still giving you a superb study tool, the ESV study notes. There's also a free version that's just as good without the detailed notes. This is my choice for best individual, single Bible app.

Your Suggestions?
So what apps have you found most useful? Any that are just plain indispensable as study tools? Please share your suggestions in the comments section below.


CATachresis said...

I agree with you that Olive Tree is excellent. I have been using it for a while now. Makes note taking and comparing passages very easy and there are lots of options! Though ita bit pricey! Another free one is Blue Letter Bible which is quite adequate and I think user friendly.

Unknown said...

I use OliveTree for my Bible study, but if I want to compare versions, I use YouVersion. It has a really easy interface.

For reading PDFs, I use GoodReader. Highly recommended.

For reading blogs, I have switched from Reeder to Mr. Reader. I like the interface a little bit more, thought they are both solid readers.

SLIMJIM said...

Wow thank you for this. I really want to look into LISGO and SWIFT PLAYER & DOWNLOADER.

deltadom said...

Strongs App by Brian T Webb

It is fantastic having an intelinear Bible when out on the street

Mega Bible commentaries

Sermonaudio App

This is fantastic especially if you want to study any subject that comes to mind as most people have a sermon on it

Reasonable Faith App

It is so useful having William lane craigs talks at hand and articles

With Kindle I have a version of the Quran and a book the differences between the Quran and the Bible for quick reference for Muslims

Differences: The Bible and the Koran by Ben J Smith

I would love Kingdom of the Cults at hand and I dont have enough faith to be an Atheist and Dr Michael Browns Jewish Objections and other works to counteract, people on the street

I would love to have a variable library to counteract the unbeliever at hand

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post :)
The only recommendation I would have is the Bible Gateway app. It offers a good interface as well as several good study tools (including different biblical commentaries and multiple translations). It means that if the "verse of the day" sparks my interest I can instantly access a variety of good commentaries, no matter where I am.

Anonymous said...

I have developed a free Android app called Bible Nuggets:

It has the ability to browse 'nuggets' (which are passages from the Bible), memorize Scripture, view full Bible, practice answering objections, and tracking non-Bible (e.g. apologetics) nuggets as well. Please give it a try if you have android. Right now it only contains the open domain Bible translations (KJV, ASV, BBE, YLT, WBT) because the cost of the non-open domain translations is too great.

Anonymous said...

AndBible (Android)
Andbible is my bible app of choice. It is free. It has many bible versions and commentaries. I like the two-pane view to read original greek and a commentary.

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