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Archive for the ‘New Products’ Category

iPad Update

Posted on: March 27th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 26 Comments

With the WiFi iPads shipping for delivery in less than a week, I thought we should update you on our status.

Today (March 27) is the last day to submit apps to the App Store and be guaranteed they’ll be available on the iPad App Store on its official release date (April 3). For a while that was our goal, but as time went on we realized it would be in everyone’s best interest if we had a chance to see what PocketBible looked like on the actual hardware. The emulator we run on our Macs is good, but it’s not the real hardware. We’re concerned about performance and simple things like the usability of the user interface, given that we can’t really tell how big our buttons are or what it’s going to “feel” like on a real device until we have one in our hands.

So, we won’t release a product to the App Store until we have a chance to see it running on real hardware. So that means sometime after April 3.

The great thing about the iPad is that it runs our iPhone code pretty much as-is. The bad thing is that it runs our iPhone code as-is. The experience of running an iPhone app on the iPad will be less than optimum, but it at least will give the iPad a couple hundred thousand apps on day one. Ideally, every iPhone developer will be customizing their apps for the iPad, and that’s what we’ve been doing.

While the iPad is a mobile device, it has the screen real estate of a desktop or laptop device (1024 x 768). That means while we’re using our iPhone code as a base, we have to think like we’re developing for the desktop. Not a desktop computer with a mouse and a real keyboard, though, but a desktop computer you operate with your fingers and type on a pop-up keyboard. So the interface is an interesting intersection of desktop and mobile paradigms.

So what will be new or different on the iPad? First, You’ll have plenty of space on the screen for some controls to be present all the time, just like on your desktop where menus and toolbars are generally always there. This makes it easier and more intuitive to get around.

Second, the bigger screen means there’s room to split the screen and show you more than one book at a time if you want.

Third, we’ve taken advantage of this opportunity to add a frequently requested feature: The ability to search your entire library at one time. The larger screen means there’s room to give you both a search results browser and a library browser at the same time. We think this is going to be a great addition to the program.

Finally, you can expect changes to how you open books and navigate within books. It should take fewer touches to find your way around your library.

We’ll post some more details as we get closer to releasing the product. With the actual release of the iPad itself coming up, we just wanted to give you some advance notice of what’s coming. We think you’re going to like it.

It’s iPad Ordering Day!

Posted on: March 12th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 19 Comments

Apple started taking orders this morning (March 12) at 7:30AM CST for the new iPad. The WiFi version ships in time to arrive at your home on April 3, while the WiFi+3G version ships in late April.

You can place your order at store.apple.com. The 16GB WiFi version is $499. 32GB is $599 and 64GB is $699. Add $130 to each of those prices if you want 3G. You’ll have to pay for a 3G data plan separately, of course.

As we’ve said before, we don’t talk about what may or may not be under development. But you can expect some new iPad-specific features in PocketBible that we think will make it an even more compelling application than it is on the iPhone and rival what we offer in PocketBible for Windows. We’ll get more details out as we get closer to a ship date.

And don’t worry about migrating your notes, highlights, bookmarks, and reading progress to the iPad. Before it arrives, we’ll have an update that will allow you to synchronize or backup your data to our server, then synchronize or restore it to PocketBible on your new iPad. Of course this feature will also let you move any user-created data you had on your old Palm or Windows Mobile phone to your iPhone assuming you have PocketBible for Windows running on your desktop or laptop. You’ll sync your Palm or WinMob phone to PocketBIble for Windows, then sync PocketBible for Windows with our server. Then sync your iPhone with the server and you’re done.

So if you want to be the first on your block to own an iPad, get your order placed as soon as you can. By the way, you can ignore the temptation to pay for expedited shipping. Your new iPad will be shipped in time to arrive on April 3 and the shipping is free. The 2-3 shipping option applies only to the accessories you order with your iPad, which will ship later.


RomansRoad eTract Available for iPhone

Posted on: January 21st, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 10 Comments

A few weeks ago (around the turn of the year), I answered a technical support query about whether any of our eTracts for the Pocket PC had been published for the iPhone. They haven’t been, so it was an easy question to answer. However, that question planted a seed, which sprouted and leads to today’s announcement: our RomansRoad eTract is now available for the iPhone.

RomansRoad eTract is a Scripture-based discussion guide to help you share your Christian faith. Based upon the familiar “Romans Road” series of verses from the book of Romans, this witnessing tool uses a unique question and answer format to provide a framework to help you share your faith. As each new key verse is presented, probing questions and explanatory answers are also provided to help you both explain the Scripture and answer common questions that arise.

For example, Romans 3:23 states that all have sinned. Upon presenting this key verse, the RomansRoad eTract provides the following questions:

  • What is sin?
  • Who has sinned?
  • Does that include you and me?
  • Not convinced that you are a sinner?

Answers to these questions are provided using everyday language.

This format — presentation of a key verse with concise, clear commentary in a question and answer format — provides a framework allowing you to share your faith while personalizing your discussion. Since it is discussion-based, you are able to listen and respond to the questions you receive, and be sensitive to God’s leading.

An individual page or all pages can be emailed, facilitating both further consideration and follow-up at a later date.

If you find the RomansRoad eTract a helpful resource in sharing your faith, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment on this article and/or post a review on the App Store with your experiences.

Find It On the App Store

The RomansRoad eTract is available on the App Store for 99 cents. Click here to go to the iTunes App Store now.

The RomansRoad eTract is fully stand-alone. It does not require PocketBible nor any other Laridian product. So, even if you use some one else’s Bible software on your iPhone (though you should try PocketBible, it’s free!), you can still use the RomansRoad eTract.

Some More of the Backstory

I first wrote and published this eTract for use on the Pocket PC. Since then, the text has been revised and expanded several times. I’d estimate that this is really the fourth or fifth edition of the text. I’ve published previous editions in paper format as well.

Last week, I posted the RomansRoad eTract icon on our facebook “fan page” and invited guesses about the program. Several were close, and a few were exactly right!

If you follow me on Twitter, this is what I have been referring to as my “#newsecretiphoneproject”.

Screen Shots


Sample Screen

 


Preferences

PrayerPartner for iPhone

Posted on: December 15th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 24 Comments

PrayerPartner for the iPhone is now available on the Apple App Store. Search for “PrayerPartner” in the App Store, or try this link.

For only $1.99 (you may have paid more for a cup of coffee today), PrayerPartner helps you manage an important spiritual discipline: prayer.

PrayerPartner helps you by maintaining lists of prayer requests, keeping track of which ones have been answered, which ones you’d like to pray for today, and which ones have already been prayed for today. Each request can be categorized, associated with a contact from your Contacts Address Book, and scheduled to be prayed for daily, on certain days of the week, or certain days of the month. Customizable email templates let you quickly mail a personal note of encouragement to a request’s contact. Plus, use the dated journal to record your thoughts as you pray.

Not Excited Yet? Keep Reading

Many of our PocketBible beta testers jumped on board to help with final testing of PrayerPartner. One common comment from them went something like… well, let’s hear from a few directly.

“PrayerPartner has given me the push I need to stay on top of other people’s requests. How many times do people specifically ask for prayer, and we somehow forget to ever petition the Lord on their behalf? This app is helping me make sure that I take their requests seriously, and it makes it easier to follow up with them when their prayers are answered.”
— Lawson C.

“I have found PrayerPartner to be indispensable. I did not know I had a need for an app like this until I started using it, and now it is on my home screen with the applications I use all the time.”
— Paul W.

“I didn’t know how valuable PrayerPartner would be until I started using it. Now I use PrayerPartner every day!”
— Mike O.

It’s interesting that a common theme developed: “I wasn’t really interested in a prayer-related program, but I found that it’s been good for me.”

Sort of like eating vegetables and flossing, I guess. :-)

Seriously, though, I’ve found this to be true for me as well. Now that I’m through developing and testing, I’ve been adding my requests. Here’s what I’ve added so far.

  • a daily praise, different for every day of the month
  • a daily prayer for my children, a different topic every day of the month
  • some friends to be prayed for weekly (some on Monday, some on Tuesday, etc.); I make notes of special needs or stresses so that I can remember to pray for them
  • prayer for our pastor, church and its ministries

Like our beta testers, I’m finding that PrayerPartner is helping me be both more focused and disciplined.

Screen Shots


PrayerPartner Home Screen


Adding or Editing a Request


Picking a Category


Viewing the Full Request

Still To Come?

If PrayerPartner proves successful, we have ideas that would allow sharing requests with others, even (potentially) PrayerPartner users on other platforms.

Coming Soon: PrayerPartner for the iPhone

Posted on: December 9th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 10 Comments

PrayerPartner for the iPhone has completed beta testing and been submitted to the Apple App Store. We expect it to be available in the App Store “soon”.

PrayerPartner helps you manage an important spiritual discipline: prayer.

PrayerPartner helps you by maintaining lists of prayer requests, keeping track of which ones have been answered, which ones you’d like to pray for today, and which ones have already been prayed for today. Each request can be categorized, associated with a contact from your Contacts Address Book, and scheduled to be prayed for daily, on certain days of the week, or certain days of the month. Customizable email templates let you quickly mail a personal note of encouragement to a request’s contact. Plus, use the dated journal to record your thoughts as you pray.

When approved for sale in the App Store, PrayerPartner will be available with an introductory price of $1.99.

Jeff’s #secretiphoneproject

Posted on: November 17th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin No Comments

Yesterday, I posted an article inviting interested persons to apply to be a beta tester on my #secretiphoneproject. I also tweeted, inviting our Twitter followers to come to the blog and read about it.

I have enough applications, so the article has been removed and the application process is closed.

Thanks to all who expressed interest. If you applied and haven’t heard back from me yet, you will soon.

Laridian’s Palm Pre Plans

Posted on: October 19th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 104 Comments

We’re announcing today that we’ve signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bits of God Software to be the exclusive provider of Bibles and other reference materials for an upcoming version of the popular Simple Bible application for the Palm Pre. Once completed, this will give current Laridian customers who have chosen the Palm Pre as their mobile platform access to the Bibles and reference books they already own for other platforms. It will also give new Simple Bible users immediate access to one of the largest collections of Bible-related content for mobile devices. The new program from Bits of God Software, currently referred to as Simple Bible Pro, will allow users to download new Bibles and reference content directly into the program from their account on Laridian’s site.

As we’ve said here before, programming for the Pre is a whole new challenge. Our existing code that runs on Windows Mobile, iPhone, Windows desktop, and Palm OS really gives us no leverage on the Pre. With that in mind we sought a partner, and when it comes to Bible software on the Pre, the guys at Bits of God are the best. We’re pretty excited about partnering with them.

Our current agreement is “an agreement to agree” so there are many details to be worked out yet. We’ve agreed in principle on most of the more difficult points of our relationship, so we don’t anticipate any problems. The important thing is that it looks like current PocketBible and MyBible customers will have a migration path if they choose the Pre, and that Simple Bible Pro will get a jump start over other Bible software on the device by having access to Laridian’s growing library of content.

PocketBible for iPhone Available on the App Store

Posted on: September 15th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 124 Comments

We’ve been notified by Apple that PocketBible has been approved for sale in the App Store. It was fun hearing that it was available in different countries as each local App Store enabled it for their users around the world.

Now that it’s approved I can tell you what the original problem was. It seems the testers at Apple chose not to register the app and download the 39 free books that are included. As a result, when they went to the “Open Book” dialog to open a new book, they saw that only the “Bibles” and “Other Books” categories were active (the former contains the KJV and the latter the help files). They assumed that meant that PocketBible was a “lite” version that did not include the ability to view commentaries, dictionaries, and devotionals, because those categories were grayed out. If true, that would be a violation of the rules of the App Store. We explained that those categories were grayed out because they hadn’t downloaded any commentaries, dictionaries, or devotionals. That must’ve been sufficient because they later approved the app.

If you can give us some positive reviews at the App Store that would be great. If you can’t think of anything nice to say, send your negative comments to me by email so I can fix the program to your satisfaction.

It’s getting hard to pick out our answers to your questions in the comments below. It might be best to send them to Tech Support. Select the Help Desk link on our site.

PocketBible Rejection #1

Posted on: September 1st, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 43 Comments

As I said before, I anticipated we’d have problems getting PocketBible for iPhone through the approval process at the App Store. It’s a complicated app for one thing, and Apple’s approval process has a bit of a checkered reputation for another.

Late last night we were notified that PocketBible was being rejected. The issue was a misunderstanding about how PocketBible works. We immediately submitted an explanation, added details on how they can access “help” from within the program, and resubmitted the application.

I don’t believe this puts us at the end of the approval queue, but even if it does it only took a week for them to look at the program.

So I’m expecting our next rejection within a week. :-)

Status Update – PocketBible for iPhone

Posted on: August 31st, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 34 Comments

We’re at one week since submitting the app to the App Store and I want to answer a few questions that have come up in email and in the comments.

  • We will not get any feedback from Apple until/unless the app is approved. The current status is “In Review” and that’s all we’ll know until they actually either approve or decline it. If they decline it, they’ll tell us why and tell us what to do to fix it. We don’t have any reason to believe they won’t approve it, or if they find problems, that they won’t approve it eventually.
  • We appreciate your offers to give us donations to cover the cost of development. We’ve thought about formalizing that process but at the same time you can “donate” by simply not using our discount codes when you place an order for add-on books. We’re embarrassed to even suggest such a thing and are humbled by your generosity.
  • We will be having some kind of site-wide sale once the new product is approved on the App Store. We’ll send an email out to current customers and probably post something here in the blog. If you’re interested in building your library, that will be a good time to do it.
  • You will have access to all your current Bibles and reference books from inside PocketBible for iPhone. I’m not sure how to make this more clear. Take a look at the first video here. All I’m doing is logging into my existing account using my customer ID and password (you can also use your email address instead of customer ID if you don’t know it). Once I’m logged in, I see a list of everything I’ve previously purchased for any platform. I can download any of those titles to the iPhone.
  • Memorize!, DailyReader for Palm OS, and the old PrayerPartner for Palm OS are programs, not reference books, and won’t be included in the titles you can download for iPhone. We have not announced our plans for a version of Memorize! or PrayerPartner for the iPhone. The features of DailyReader are built into PocketBible and will be enhanced in future releases of PocketBible for iPhone.
  • MyBible users will probably have the biggest transition to make. As you might know, MyBible was written by an outside developer who was a Palm employee at the time. We marketed it on his behalf. At the same time, we developed PocketBible for Windows Mobile in-house. It was the original product that Jeff Wheeler and I wrote starting back in 1998 and which motivated us to leave Parsons Technology in late 1998/early 1999 together with Jim VanDuzer to start Laridian. PocketBible for iPhone is based on the Windows Mobile code base and overall philosophy of operation. The differences are subtle but you may notice them. For example, MyBible lets you highlight a single letter in a word. PocketBible highlights entire verses.
  • Remember, this is version 1.0.0. Other versions are coming. If you don’t see a favorite feature, tell us about it, then wait. We’ll be constantly working on updates for the next few months. Those of you who got involved in iPocketBible.com in the very early stages remember that we issued updates every couple of weeks for a few months as we rounded out the feature list. We’ll be doing the same thing with PocketBible for iPhone.
  • If you can find it in your hearts, give us a nice review. Early reviews are important. If you can do us the favor of complaining to us directly by email instead of through your reviews on the App Store, that would be great. We’re going to do everything we can to be responsive and make sure PocketBible for iPhone is everything you want it to be. If people express their complaints through App Store reviews instead of directly to us, the product could fail before we have the opportunity to finish it.
  • We haven’t forgotten Windows Mobile. There will be a new release of WM next year and we currently plan to revisit PocketBible for Windows Mobile sometime before then and release an update. Nothing firm yet.

That’s it for now. I just checked and there’s no change in the status of the app as of this morning. I’m sure one of you will probably spot it before I do. :-)

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