Is the iPad the perfect platform for PocketBible?

Posted on: June 21st, 2011 by Michelle Stramel 41 Comments

In a recent post, I asked if you were still using a print version Bible along with PocketBible. Although not a scientific survey, of forty-some comments via Facebook and the web, around 35% of you are still using print regularly and another 20% are using it occasionally – mostly for personal study at home or in preaching (we still can’t trust electronic entirely!). I related to the person who mentioned that he uses print so he is not distracted by emails, texts, Facebook, etc. when he is trying to read the Bible. I can further add that a printed Bible does not attract the notice of children (or adults) in the same manner that an electronic device does, giving the printed Word another advantage for quiet times. In summary, the electronic and print still seem to offer something that cannot be replaced entirely by the other. Although I couldn’t help but notice a certain “extra” enthusiasm about PocketBible from the iPad owners.

I’ve always thought the iPad looked cool but there’s no way I’d part with $500 for what I consider to be a non-essential electronic device. However, your comments intrigued me and I was able to borrow an iPad and use it for the last week or so. Let’s just say, I “get” your enthusiasm. I haven’t felt this way about a device since I first got my iPhone. As a personal study tool and a replacement for a paper Bible, I can’t imagine anything better. However, if I prepared Bible studies or wrote sermons, I think I would continue to use PocketBible for Windows at my desktop. And, of course, PocketBible on my iPhone would be used because I always have my phone with me. But, yes, PocketBible for iPad along with all the other features of the iPad is making $500 seem like a wise investment rather than an extravagance.

What’s to love about the iPad?

1. iPads are more portable than a laptop and they turn on instantly. I don’t carry my laptop around the house and it sure doesn’t turn on instantly even from sleep mode.

2. It still has that “geeky-cool” factor (as one customer put it) and everything, including PocketBible, game apps, web sites, looks great on it.

3. PocketBible for iPad. It beats out PocketBible for iPhone in my book for one really important reason: screen size. For the first time, I’m using the split screen option regularly – up to 5 windows open on the iPad is amazing. The extra buttons on the toolbar and the extra toolbox make changing settings and adding highlights and bookmarks easier. And I love that the search feature shows results for all my books instead of just the current one. On the iPad, there is more room to spread out and, for me, that makes it more enjoyable to use.

iPad owners, am I missing anything about PocketBible or the iPad in general?

41 Responses

  1. Gail Brown says:

    I use my iPad, almost exclusively for reading the Bible. In fact, I’m not sure where my favorite print Bible is at the moment. Why do I prefer my iPad? I can have more than one translation open at a time,I can go to a specific book & verse in less time than with any print Bible, I can make the print larger or smaller, etc.

  2. Eric S. Mueller says:

    I originally bought PocketBible because I was using Windows Mobile and you offered a sync to the PocketBible for Windows. I’d been highly frustrated with electronic Bible products to that point with being able to sync my notes and bookmarks and highlights. You first offered sync between PocketBible PPC and PocketBible Windows.

    I got fed up with Windows Mobile’s instability and crashing, and the second you said PocketBible for iPhone was in development, I got an iPhone. I had to patiently wait for the iPhone client. Flash forward 2 years to getting an iPad in 2011, and I have to say I’m happier than ever with your platform. You’re my favorite iOS developer, and God bless you for it.

    I really enjoy being able to do Bible study on my iPad. The screen is big. I can keep my Bible open, with a commentary or lexicon open on the same screen. Doesn’t matter. I can check Greek and Hebrew words, check a parallel version, or check several commentaries with room to spare. But the beauty is, I can sync everything back to the server, so no matter whether I’m on my iPad, my iPhone, or my laptop, I have access to everything.

    I’ve been doing a lot of my reading and study on the iPad, but I still feel kind of pretentious bringing an iPad to church. So I bring my iPhone. But when I want to make a lot of notes, I do it on PocketBible for Windows. Thank you for making an app that is universal across platforms, and allows me to sync my notes, books, highlights, and bookmarks seamlessly across the devices I use.

  3. Gail, me too! I like it for those reasons and more.

    Eric, sounds like you have the multiple formats working great for you. I need to take that next step and sync between my iPhone and iPad because I’m starting to feel the frustration of not being on the same day in my devotional on both devices.

  4. Jerry says:

    PocketBible for IPAD is really easy to use and at the same time, packed with features. I love it! I use my PocketBible daily. Thanks so much for a Great product!!

  5. Donald Stidwell says:

    Michelle, I’m an iPad only person for church. I’ve not taken a paper Bible to church in years. 1st it was MyBible on Palm, then PocketBible on Windows Mobile, then PocketBible on my iPhone and now PocketBible on my iPad. I can look up passages faster than a speeding bullet (smile) since Baptist preachers love jumping all over the Bible in their sermons. When someone quotes a fragment of scripture but can’t remember where it is, I’m the one that can find it in seconds. When in Bible study, I’m the one that can instantly look up a passage in a commentary or check out Strong’s and I can do it in seconds. None of these things can be accomplished as quickly with a paper Bible (not to mention bookmarks and notes).

    Prior to getting my iPad, I did all these things on the other platforms I’ve mentioned on a small PDA or iPhone. The extra screen real estate of the iPad is a godsend! Five open windows with 2 Bibles and three commentaries (or 2 commentaries and a devotional) open and they all synchronise together. What’s not to love?

    Eric says he feels pretentious taking an iPad to church. He shouldn’t. I don’t and in fact I’m the envy of those who can’t move from scripture to scripture or look up stuff as quickly as I can. I go to church to worship and to study and learn, and with the iPad as my tool, all these activities are enhanced.

  6. Edward says:

    I don’t have much to add, except that I use my iPad exclusively for Bible reading at home, and I love it. I’m sure I don’t use it to the fullest, but it’s definitely the most-used app on my iPad and I am so thankful that Laridian created this app. I use my iPhone at church, but I don’t use the sync function. I may need to look into that.

  7. Donald, that is true about church but I find it is even better at a Bible study since you can share the results of your fast searches with everyone on the larger screen 🙂 Plus, in my small group, we have a video portion to our study which I can also pull up on the iPad for everyone to watch. It really is an amazing tool.

  8. Nancy says:

    The main reason my husband surprised me with an iPad was for the Bible. I was using iPod touch and really felt there was so much potential but the screen was too tiny to do split screen, etc. I love the iPad and it is right on my nightstand for my morning Bible study. I love being able to take notes on one note and flip easily between the two. I do carry my iPod to church, but thats really the only time I use the Bible on it. I don’t use print Bible at all. Haven’t found a need to.

  9. David says:

    I use the iPad or iPhone exclusively for Bible reading. Having discovered the sync feature, I can keep my devices current on my reading plan. At church, I use the iPad for Bible reading and don’t even carry a paper Bible, just the iPad. I generally read my iPhone while in bed so the screen isn’t so bright to keep my wife awake.

    I have been using my iPad to preach from and no longer print my sermons or other service materials other than an outline for those involved. If I am reading an extended passage of scripture, I multi-task to PocketBible and then back to my notes.

    I have used Laridian Bibles as my Bible since I first got my Visor Platinum! It is by far the best Bible available! Love it!!!!

  10. Joel says:

    Have you announced a release date for the Blackberry tablet? Just kidding! I love PB on my iPad! The only thing I really, really, really (x 1 billion) miss from my WM days is being able to long press and look up a word in all dictionaries or look up a verse in all commentaries or bibles. Did I mention that I REALLY miss that feature? I understand why you don’t use scrolling, but after a year of using it daily, I still find myself trying to scroll when using it. To be honest, if it weren’t for the fact that the Excel replacements on the iPad are horrible, I’d hardly ever have a need for my laptop, especially since I have Bluetooth keyboard/case.

  11. Tom says:

    As Donald said, I started with a Palm, then WM, iPod Touch, iPhone, and now an iPad. I haven’t taken a paper bible to church for about 2 months, just using my iPhone and for the last 3 weeks my new iPad. I really like the size of the iPad and the ability to do split screen. The only thing I see that needs beefed up is to make syncing automatic, my phone is online all the time, so why can’t changes be synced as they are made? And on the iPad sync whenever Pocket Bible is opened and WiFi is active?

    • Tom,

      I haven’t spent much time thinking about continuous synchronization because it isn’t a model that seems very practical. It would require a combination of the existing algorithms and some new strategies to maintain a list of changes to be uploaded at the next opportune time. It would also require some kind of push notifications from the server to inform the program that there were changes on the server that needed to be processed. Just off the top of my head that sounds like a pretty big job. It’s worth thinking about for the future but I can tell you it’s not in the plan right now.

  12. Rod says:

    If only there was a Mac version, that would be AWESOME! Just started to preach from my iPad. (Still have a printed version of my notes as a back up though.) I haven’t used a paper Bible for several years, except extremely occasionally when doing a one on one. Now that I have my iPad I’ve been using it to show them the scripture I am referring to. I love the ability to look things up quick.

  13. Craig Horlacher says:

    I don’t like the tablet form factor for reading or studying books. I think the iPhone screen is too small at 3.5″ and my Droid X screen at 4.3″ is just perfect. That small amount of screen space makes a huge difference. Apple was foolish to go with a uselessly high dpi on the iPhone 4 and not change to a 16×9 aspect ratio. It’s really too bad that they stuck with a screen resolution and aspect ratio that are both from about 1994 when they made the iPad.

    The slightly wider and much taller display is why my Droid X is great for reading. I have BlackBerry PlayBook (actually testing it for work) and I think that’s too big and heavy for comfortable book reading though it’s great for web browsing and media viewing. And that’s only a 7″ screen.

    Basically, I think tablets are just too heavy to be used for any significant reading. The iPhone has too small a screen. I’m really not a fan of any Apple products though their fixing a few major problems with iOS in iOS 5 I still don’t like most choices that Apple makes. In generally my feeling is if someone has an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, they just paid a lot more than they should have for what they got. I do think OS X is great! I’m not a total Apple hater. I just think Apple did a really bad job with iOS and a lot of their mobile devices (Shuffle, original iPod).

    I’m with you, Craig. If I was planning a sermon or something I would probably use PocketBible on my laptop. But I know from experience, it’s even valuable having a 4-screen (sometimes more but that was usually the most that was practical) split view on a 4″ 480×640 device. It comes it very handy when I want to view one verse in two translations as well as info from two different commentaries all at the same time. That screen handles it fine and it worked perfectly with PocketBible for Windows Mobile on my Toshiba E830! I can’t wait to do the same thing on my Droid X!!!

  14. Julian Knight says:

    I’ve also not used a paper bible regularly for years. I love the iPad for use in study and the iPone for ad-hoc use (bus, train, etc.)

    But the iPad version is still far from ideal for even Sunday sermons let alone serious study due to the limitations of the note taking. Being able to keep and search notes by DATE is really essential rather than only by verse. Many notes I take should be linked to a set of verses (e.g. Ps 1:1-5) or indeed many separate verses.

    Also, rich text entry is a challenge, especially during a sermon so this needs to be easier perhaps by using Markdown.

    I also still find the UI difficult to navigate, the icons a layout could be clearer.

    But it is a powerful and very useful tool, far superior to a print version. So I look forward to using it for many years to come.

    • Julian,

      Please take a few minutes to get specific about your complaints and put them in an email to me at While I’m sure you have some good suggestions, sometimes we find out that people just aren’t aware of how the program works, and we’d like to help.

      I take notes every Sunday with PocketBible on my iPad. My notes are in the form of a nested outline using the tag with different numbering styles so that my top level can be capital Roman numerals, next level is upper case letters, etc. I regularly use bold, italics, and centered paragraphs. It’s not a WYSIWYG editor, but remember that most people don’t take notes, most of the rest use NONE of the HTML capabilities, and only a few of us use the full range of features.

      I disagree that markdown would be much better. I’ve looked into it and while it might require fewer keystrokes to make a word *bold* (as opposed to <b>bold</b>), if you select the word then use the menu to select “Bold”, there’s no typing involved and it would be the same effort as if we were using markdown instead of HTML. And there are situations in which markdown would be harder to insert using the menus (nested lists). (Harder from the program’s perspective because of the necessity of determining context, which may not be able to be determined accurately.)

      PocketBible does not try to be a be-all and end-all journaling environment. We may add date-tagged or non-tagged notes in the future, but our primary goal has been to recreate the experience of writing in the margin of your paper Bible — only better. I use other programs for other types of Bible study notes (mainly Word on my Mac or PC). You can be sure that either a full-fledged word processor or a journaling program is going to do a better job than PocketBible will ever do for storing notes that are NOT connected to the Bible.

      And if you have material that needs to link TO the Bible, consider using BookBuilder and creating your own add-in books for PocketBible.

      Again, I’m interested in your comments on the UI, but by email since it’s easier to find and reply to than these comments.

  15. John says:

    One new usage–My wife loves to read God’s Word but she is visually impaired and cannot read even giant print Bibles. But at 40 pt. on the iPad she once again can read with ease. Only down side is that she is dominating the iPad usage and I’m left out in the cold !!! But I’m so thrilled she has her Bible back.

    The other thing that has been said in other ways–iPad PB is so nice simply because everything is in one place AND it is not bulky like my MBP. I just would encourage Laridian to consider that the Mac Book Airs will take off and there is no PB for that running on OSX. Big Market potiential to be gained.

  16. Joel and Julian, thanks for the suggestions. A good thing can always be made better.

    Rod and John, we dream of a mac version too ( 🙂

  17. Jeff Crowder says:

    I don’t own an iPad, but so many of the features I am reading here, I find in PB for Windows. There is a great feature for us using the desktop version. We have a real keyboard for note taking and sermon/lecture preparation. 🙂

  18. Al Ortega says:

    I’ve never been an iAnything guy but after seeing that screen shot of the PocketBible for the iPad me and my Android (3.0/HoneyComb) Tablet are jealous! After the release of the PocketBible for Android phones will there be a similar product for the tablet line?


  19. Jim Goddard says:

    I own almost all of the copies of texts in paper version but with progressive limited vision, the texts are all too small for me to see. iPad to my rescue. In addition to Kindle for iPad I use Pocketbible all the time. I am a 2 month retired pastor who used the iPad for Sunday scripture, S.S. class, Staff devotions, Bible Studies, etc.
    I can now use my favorite NIV Study bible at the same time with the Life Application Bible and the dictionary, maps etc. It truly changed my ministry and life. I can not say enough to thank you guys for your contribution to my ministry and spiritual life.
    Written on Jim’s iPad

  20. James Reynolds says:

    I have been a QuickVerse user since your first release through Parsons (still use 4.0g daily).
    I never thought I had a need for a mobile device until my wife bought me a Kindle. I really enjoy it but of course just being a reader it is very limited.
    My wife has an iPad2 and thought I needed one also.
    I put PocketBible on it and was astounded! I almost bought an iPad2 JUST to run PocketBible.
    However, I bought a Xoom instead because I feel that it is a far superior tablet.
    The PocketBible search and Goto speeds on her iPad2 are blindingly fast. I have tried a number of other Bible apps on both the iPad2 and the Xoom and NOTHING is in the same league as PocketBible.
    I’m really hoping that I’ll see a Honeycomb OS PocketBible with the functionality that the iOS version has. 🙂
    Thanks for the great Bible software you’ve given us through the years.

  21. CK says:

    My wife and I both have iPad’s and iPhones and we use them every day for Bible reading, study and of course devotionals. Thanks for a great app. I have referred at least 10 friends to the app and they are using it.

    Few suggestions:
    As a multidevice user, the one feature I would like (and maybe it exists) is to have a “quick bookmark” that syncs. That way I can quickly bookmark where I am in my daily reading and then do study, but then quickly return to where I left off. This is even more powerful if the bookmark would sync. (Basically kindle like reading experience).

    Regarding sync, I do find the current sync model a little old school. (click settings, click my data, sync, wait for it to finish syncing). The kindle sync model is really perfect. It sends small updates in the background and doesn’t interfere with the user model at all. This is where an inexpensive subscription plan might make sense, help you offset the cost of the servers but also give us a slightly more intuitive syncing process.

    I would also love if the toolbar was customizable, so that I could add shortcuts to my favorit features (like quickly toggling the number of panes visible).

    It would also be nice to turn off the animations that occur when moving between books. I have about 3 or four books open in one pane. While the animation creates a beautiful page turning affect, when you are doing serious study it is nice to move quickly between books. If I need to move down 3 books from where I am, the animation is overkill and slow (even on my iPad 2).

    Finally, I am also a developer and I am experimenting with the new multitasking gestures available for developers (4.3.3, enable via xcode). It allows moving between other books in my kindle and PB with a swipe of 4 fingers across the screen. it is brilliant. However, I notice that when I come back to PB via the multitasking gesture and click on the “Goto” button, I have to tap the button twice for it to react. My guess is PB is still a little confused about the new gesture API. it is a small thing, but I mention it none the less.

    • CK,

      Thanks for the suggestions. Some brief comments:

      Our sync may be “old school” but nobody else is doing it. It does not require a constant, battery-draining connection. It could be improved, and I would like it to be in real-time, but let’s not forget to appreciate the fact that it is cutting-edge compared to the competition.

      The animation when switching books serves to let you know the switch happened. With no animation, it’s easy to miss the change. The disturbing effect of having no animation is the very reason there IS animation. 🙂

      To move quickly between books, tap the title bar and select the book you want to switch to.

      I would argue if the new task-switching gesture confuses PocketBible it’s because the new gesture is buggy. Hopefully Apple will fix it so that hundreds of thousands of apps don’t have to be modified to work around this bug in the OS.

  22. Jeff Crowder says:

    Just got my first Apple product. 1st gen IPad. Couldn’t wait for the full Android product. (Though I will be purchasing that when it is available.) This IPad version is sweet. However, I’ve found a typo in a link in a commentary. Is there a way to submit the information? It is not major, but I was quite surprised to find a mistake. I have only had the thing one day.

  23. Jodi Biklian says:

    I love the PB, and have used it for years on my Palms, then my iPhone, and now my iPad. I’m surprised there is so little mentioned about taking sermon notes. I love being able to put my notes right on the verse. I’m an associate pastor so I’m not speaking every Sunday, but do like to have the easy access to previous notes when studying for teaching & other speaking opportunities. I would also like to add my deep desire to be able to have this great program on my new Mac.

  24. Dan DiFonzo says:

    Like many of you, I wouldn’t part with $5 much less $500 or $900 for an Apple product. (I know many of you love Apple but I’m not drinking the Kool Aid) However, my work told me otherwise and they paid for it so I carry the thing from place to place. I have been taking my iPad the church for bible study and worship for about 3 months. It has been a novelty to many and I especially had to fight the kids off for a few weeks. After decided to be “Bad Guy” and say NO, the boys have backed off. Only one can play at a time anyway and I suggested they do something they can all do together. Thank you Craig for making PocketBible a purchase once program used across many platforms. The iPad has been nice tool to have in church just from being able to look up Greek word and meanings and quickly look at other translations. Like having my study library handy at my fingertips. My general feeling about iPad is that I will not be replacing any of my computers for it. For home Bible study and lesson preparation I will be using my PC. Jumping between PocketBible books and word processor is 10 times faster on the PC. Personal Bible reading….still have my trusty Bible where I can flip and find things. A 30 year friend is hard to give up. In summary, I like the iPad app just fine. Wouldn’t mind throwing Apple overboard, but that is a personal preference. Can’t wait for the Android and HP TouchPad versions. I’ll probably invest personal money in some other similar device.

  25. John Holme says:

    I love PocketBible on my iPad but there are a few enhancements which would improve even further its usability to me and they are:-

    The ability to select which books are searched when a find is run. I have I think 18 bibles and loads of commentaries and dictionaries on my iPad and quite honestly it takes an age to search through them and whilst the search process is going on the touch interface doesn’t work very well. If I could choose which books are searched in the settings menu then I would cut out many of the books and just get results for my favourite books.

    The other thing which I submitted to you a couple of years ago and which you said you thought was a good idea, was the ability to give names to the Highlighting colours that are meaningful to me. I am sure that you are aware that there are bibles which are produced which have a key at the beginning describing what colours represent what topic or facet of scripture.

    Apart from these two things I have been a very appreciative customer of Laridian for I think about 10 years or more. Well done for making such a great resource available to the Body of Christ. Thank you.

  26. Bruce says:

    While I love my iphone pocketbible and use it regularly, and I used the pocketbible on my ipad and ipad2 before I sold them, I am looking forward to your Android version. I used pocketbible on my Win Mobile phone for years and can relate to many of the comments here, but frankly I find that using a bible software pkg. on the larger screen of a tablet computer is more enjoyable.

  27. Baggas says:

    iPad is the perfect platform for PocketBible. While I loved PB for iPhone I still used a print Bible for the vast majority of my reading and never found the study tools especially useful. With the iPad able to have 3 or more books open at the same time Pocket Bible is vastly more useful for Bible Study. I still have a print Bible I use for my morning reading, but for all other uses I now use PB for iPad.

    My only quibble is, when are you going to get the NIV 2011 for PocketBible?? It’s been out for quite a while now and I would really love to add it to my PocketBible collection. Still using TNIV as my preferred NIV version.

    • Paul, I’ve tried to write a summary of our discussions with Zondervan over the last few years with respect to the NIV 2011 and other Zondervan titles, but I can’t do so without using language and divulging information that is better kept private. Unfortunately the result is that Laridian looks like the incompetent party here, since everyone else has the NIV 2011 and we don’t, and you can’t see what’s been going on behind the scenes. We are assured we will have a contract soon. I need to stop now and go take my blood pressure medication. Glad to hear you’re enjoying PocketBible on your iPad.

  28. Cynthia Marshall says:

    I’ve been using Laridian products since 2003. I certainly appreciate Laridian keeping up with technology since I’ve had Laridian products on several platforms–pocket PC, Palm, Windows Mobile, iPhone, now iPad which I really like because of the screen size. I’ve had the iPad less than a week and used it at last night’s Bible Study looking up words in Strong’s. Had 4 versions open at the same time. Worked great! I still use print Bibles because I’ve marked them up so much and it’s easy for me to find what I’m looking for.

  29. Erik hinkston says:

    I’ve been paper free at Church fo a year now, I have used your program since the pocket pc. But held on to my printed bible for note taking until I navigated to the iPad. Screen size and multiple screens are terrific. I love the idea of naming the highlight colors, I can never remember what color I wanted with which topic. I’ve been using bookmarks for that lately, another great feature.
    Thank you for making the most used program on my iPad.

  30. Rick Lowe says:

    I think that Pocket Bible for the iPad is fantastic and I use it daily for devotions and study. It is great to be able to sync with Nyuk one when I don’t have the iPad with me.

    One improvement that I would love to see would be the ability to highlight multiple verses at once (similar to the ability to copy). Unless I am missing something, I have not been able to find this.

    Thanks, Rick

  31. Rick, glad you are enjoying PocketBible for the iPad. We do have the ability to highlight multiple verses on our suggestion list for a future version.


  32. Victor Ong says:

    I bought my iPad a few weeks ago… PocketBible being the primary reason.

    I like the feature in the Window version where I’m able to maximize a pane and then revert back to my preferred 4-pane layout. I like the 3-pane layout on my iPad. Is there a trick where I can maximize, say, the Bible page or the Bible map, and then revert back to my preferred 3-pane layout?

    • Victor, I like that feature on the Windows version too. The only way I know of to accomplish this in the iPad version is to tap on settings button and change to one pane. Then use your back arrow button to move back to your three-pane view.


  33. Andy lindley says:

    This may just be me, but I would love the ability to customise what the on screen gestures do. For example, I would rather up and down allowed you to scroll the text up and down, and left and right change the page, with swapping books being a double tap, or separate toolbar function like it was with the windows phone version….

  34. Euclid Williams says:

    i purchased the Lardian Bible years ago and now i would like to upgrade for my iPad. What do i need to do?

    • Euclid, you can download PocketBible for free from the App store and then register using your existing Laridian customer information. Then you will be able to login via the program (Menu | Add/Remove Books) and download your previously purchased Bibles and books at no charge. If you have any questions on this as you go through the process, please check our Help Desk for answers or submit a ticket to support.


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