One thing stays the same. Change! That’s true in a lot of arenas including Bible software. So what’s new in Bible Software lately? We’ll take a look at some of the newest updates to the best bible software available for Windows, Mac, iPad/iPhone and Android. Sadly, we’ve got a short list this month.
Accordance 10.4 Update
One of the most mature Mac Bible Software programs got a nice update bringing with it some new features. (http://bit.ly/accordance-new). First, Accordance made it compatible with the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, a super high-resolution computer that offers incredibly crisp text and graphics. Also, the program runs in full screen mode, a special display mode that removes the Mac menu at the top of the screen and the dock at the bottom giving users more screen room for the application.
Accordance 10.4 lets users open a Parallel windows pane via a drop down menu. Now, on the drop down menu that users click to open a parallel pane, recent books show up too. This saves time letting us find our books quicker, especially ones we use often.
The developers added some nice notes features, like the ability to add a note by hovering the mouse cursor over a verse. A pencil icon shows up and when clicked it will create a new note on the verse. Also, users can copy a verse as an interlinear (where Greek and English show together along with parsing information). See the above link for a bunch of other new features.
Logos for iPad and iPhone
The Logos app on the iPad and iPhone has seen a number of nice improvements lately (http://bit.ly/logos-ios). People who like to highlight verses or books will enjoy the ability to swipe over the text to add highlights.
We used to have to tap and hold and then tap to add a highlight on a popup toolbar. Now a person can hold their finger or stylus on a word and start to swipe to the end of the verse or section they want to highlight. Logos Bible adds the most recently used highlight style.
To change the highlight style to another color or style, just tap the highlighted section to see a popup toolbar. This gives options for choosing a different style or document for storing the highlights attached to that book.
Users can create different highlighting and note documents in Logos. I make one for each book I’m studying or reading and then one for general note document for all of my Bible highlights and notes. If a Logos note/highlighting document gets too big due to holding too many notes or highlights, then it can slow things down.
Logos is big on their Faithlife community, so they’ve added community notes to the app. Now users can see and add to a community note group. For example, lets say everyone in your study group uses Logos. They can all join a community that someone in the group creates and see what others highlighted or read others’ notes.
The Mobile Education initiative is a set of videos that give training to Logos owners. It’s like a seminary degree on your tablet, phone or computer. People who bought the videos will see a new tab in the app called Courses, which shows the courses owned and gives quick access to them.
This isn’t that new, but LifeWay, the new owner of WORDsearch, offers a video overview of what’s new in version 10. Find it at YouTube here: http://bit.ly/wordsearch10newvideo.
Bibleworks offers the best language study on a PC, but they’ve also made it so that users can run it on a Mac. It’s not a native Mac app, but runs using virtualization technology which means they’ve made it run on top of a program that makes the program think its running on Windows when its actually on a Mac.
People who want to use Bibleworks on tablet can now use one of the powerful, but still inexpensive Windows 8 tablets, like the Dell Venue 8.
Olive Tree Bible Reader
Olive Tree doesn’t have a lot to report right now. They’re in a dormant phase, at least from the public’s perspective. However, I’m told that they’re working on a major overhaul of the software on all platforms to better display their books and make things more efficient, starting with some mobile updates and then moving to the computer.
The company blog offered some sneak peaks into the new iOS version at the following links:
- New text layout capabilities – http://bit.ly/1fWsALN
- Interlinear Text layout with parsing popups – http://bit.ly/1fWt8Bj
- Tighter integratin of graphics with text around it as one sees in printed layout of books – http://bit.ly/1gxRH35
This will all come from the Bible+ 5.9 for iOS and then the other platforms later. They’re not saying when, but anytime a company starts posting images of a future release, expect it soon.
Laridian recently created a successful Kickstarter campaign that made it possible for their company to begin work on a Mac version of PocketBible.
For those who don’t know, Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com) is a way for people to let their customers support their work. For example, Laridian offered a chance to invest in a new version of PocketBible that runs on Mac OS X (http://kck.st/OyCCYT).
Users pledge financial support at different dollar amounts. Laridian set a goal of $28,500. If they reach the goal, meaning enough people promise to support the project financially, then they can make the new version of PocketBible. Laridian met their goal. They charged the credit cards of those who promised support and will use the money to develop the new program.
I supported the project and can’t wait to see what Craig Rairdin of Laridian comes up with. Follow the progress at their blog (http://blog.laridian.com/?cat=13).
As you can see we’re in a bit of a lull in terms of Bible software advancements. The app-ification of Bible software means companies that previously focused more on desktop/laptop software seem to be making their programs more mobile friendly. In the meantime, companies that used to focus mostly on mobile platforms, like Laridian and Olive Tree, seem to be pushing more into the desktop/laptop realm. That’s a great thing because it means more competition and options. More mobile, means people can use their Bible software anywhere.
I look out at my congregation of people and see far more tablets and phones opened as I read the morning’s passage than I did just a few years ago. As I said in last month’s article, companies need to seriously consider going online or making their online offering more advanced than a simple book reader. This will open up the door for more platforms like Windows Phone or Windows Surface and Chromebooks.
I hope to hear about a lot of new and awesome features coming from Bible software in the near future. For now, enjoy what we’ve highlighted above. If any of the companies want to show off an update coming soon, let me know and we’ll give them some free publicity right here. I’m really itching to do a review of a big update.