There are a lot of things I love about my main job when I’m not messing with my side jobs to make extra money, but one of the things I love the most is that I get to play with cool new developments before most other people do. One of those cool things I’m getting to play with these days is our prototype iPhone app.
Before you get too excited, we’ve still got a good deal of work to do before the iOS app is ready for release. Right now we’re doing some internal testing and evaluation of the features that have been implemented so far, and I can’t even guarantee that the way the app works now is exactly what you’ll get in the release version. So I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t reveal many details in this post. At this point, I’m just going to relate my experience of using the app in a real world situation.
Yesterday I took my iPhone to church with me and used it for a very basic application: looking up and reading the passages the pastor preached from. The sermon was a great test case, because the pastor had us jumping from Psalm 8 to Revelation 22 to Acts and Exodus and elsewhere. To further add to the challenge of navigating all those passages, my 18-month-old son was asleep in my arms. I had his head in the crook of my left arm and his legs in the crook of my right. That meant I had my right hand free to hold the iPhone and my right thumb to use for navigation.
I’m pleased to report that even with one thumb I had no trouble getting to each passage quickly and easily. Once the pastor gave the reference for the next passage, I would click the navigation arrow at the bottom of the screen, select the book and chapter I wanted, and click the Go To button. The passage would come up immediately and I would be ready to read along by the time the pastor began reading. I really like the navigation interface we’re using, but it’s different from most other programs I’ve seen, so I was curious to see if it was fast enough to keep up with a sermon that required a lot of “page turning.” It was indeed.
Even the current prototype has some pretty powerful features, and I wish I could boast that I used those features to check the pastor’s exegetical accuracy and fidelity to the underlying Greek and Hebrew. I’m afraid all I did was read along. Yet for all its power, I suspect that’s one of the main things you’ll be using the iPhone app to do, and if we don’t get quick and easy navigation right, it won’t matter if you can find all the hapax legomena in the Greek New Testament. I’m therefore happy to report that I think we’re getting it right.
I’m sorry I can’t tell you more at this point, but I’m incredibly excited about where we’re going with this app, and I think you’ll find it well worth the wait.