21 September 2010

Cheating in Sunday school

After some research, I settled on the Olive Tree Bible Reader for iPad.

I really like the Tecarta app, but they didn’t have the NRSV. I really wanted a single app with—at least—the NRSV, the NIV, and the Message.

I used to just use Bible Gateway with my iPhone. It’s a fabulous site, works well with the iPhone, and is completely free. The one downside was that over 3G it was slow enough that I would still be loading when everyone else had already found the passage. Another downside was that the iPhone’s small screen was poorly suited to sharing with your neighbor.

Well, with the Olive Tree app and having the Bibles installed on the iPad, I now find passages while everyone else is still flipping pages. It felt almost like cheating. ^_^ Just four taps to get to any verse.

There is one really weird thing about the Olive Tree app. From the app store, you can buy different versions of it that come bundled with different Bibles. Then there is a sort of “generic” version that allows you to buy multiple translations via in-app purchases.

Once you log-in through one of the bundled versions of the app, Olive Tree will record that you have the bundled Bible (and other bundled books). You can then download those in the generic version of the app.

The weird part is that the versions of the app with the bundles are cheaper than buying the same books directly in the generic app via in-app purchase. So, instead of just buying the generic app and then the translations I wanted via in-app purchase, it was cheaper to buy all the individual bundled apps and then download all the books in the generic app.

It’s hard to even explain. It was confusing for me, and I suspect my background in software and e-books means it was easier for me to understand than for most of their customers.

In any case, I’m pretty happy with the final results. I have the KJV, the NRSV, the NIV, the NIrV, the TNIV, the Message, the ASV, the Vulgate, and the Bible in Esperanto all installed on my iPad in a single app. It’s quick to get to any verse. The search seems decent. And it will do split-screen to compare two versions side-by-side. I also have a couple of commentaries. (In split-screen mode, you can get the commentary for a passage next to the passage.) Plus a few other free e-books. Olive Tree seems to have a good selection of other Bibles, commentaries, and books to buy as well.

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