Web Reader - Text to Speech
By Chris Chauvin
Open iTunes to buy and download apps.
STOP! If you are looking for Web Reader for the iPad, search for Web Reader HD. It's sold as a separate app.
Web Reader 2.5 for iPhone uses text to speech technology along with web page content recognition to read web pages to you. You can configure web pages to be read as soon as they are loaded, read pages manually after they are loaded, or use Cut, Copy, & Paste to read only sections of text.
Please make sure you are running iPhone OS 4.3 or greater to prevent problems.
See the youtube demonstration here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk0d1npGoq4
The high quality male and female voices work as you're own personal news, book, and content reader. You can adjust the volume and the speed at which web content is read.
Use local sync applications like DropBox to download and read text files, HTML pages, MS Word documents, and PDF files.
Note, there is no integration with eBook apps like Kindle. eBooks can be read only if the eBook is available on a Web page such as Project Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page).
- Fast - Web Reader starts reading quickly and can read long and large web page content without breaks.
- Reads PDF - Web Reader now reads PDF documents. NOTE: Not all PDFs can be read!
- Read Locally Synced Files - When using apps that sync files locally to your device, like DropBox, you can now open those files in Web Reader and have them read to you. File formats supported are: HTML, Text, RTF, Microsoft Word.
- Remote Control Support - Using the devices headset or BlueTooth device, Web Reader can now be paused from those device remote controls. On BlueTooth devices supporting skip forward and skip back, Web Reader will skip forward and back by paragraphs when using those controls.
- Continues Reading When Backgrounded - With iOS 4 and beyond, if your device supports applications running in the background, Web Reader will continue to read while you use other apps.
- Image Block - Load pages faster by turning on image blocking.
- Two High Quality Voices - Two high quality voices - male or female U.S. English - speak perfect English to you.
- Voice Volume - Control the volume of the generated voices from the text to speech engine as well as control the overall volume with the device volume controls.
- Speaking Speed - Control how fast or slow web pages are read to you.
- Start Here - Tap the section of the article or book you want to start reading. Note: when reading PDF files, this is not currently available. When reading PDFs, you are prompted for a page number to start reading.
- Highlight While Reading - Highlight the paragraphs and auto scroll the web page to show you what's being read.
- Auto-Speak - Configure Web Reader to automatically start reading web page content once a page loads. Going back will not re-read the previous page that was already read.
- Launch from Safari - By cutting and pasting a bookmarklet from Web Reader's info page, you can launch Web Reader and have it read the page you are on in Safari.
- Landscape - Works in landscape mode
- Reads While Locked - Web Reader will continue to speak even when the device is locked.
- Stop and Restart - Stop and Restart your last selection by pressing the play button
Devices: iPhone and iPod Touch Second Generation
OS: 4.3 or greater
Languages: English Only
What's New in Version 2.6.0
Fixed an issue where copying text was not reading.
Very useful, but rough in places
+ Very nice voice
+ Can start reading in the middle of a web page
+ You can get to the page and have it start reading by accessing a bookmark (you create) in Safari. Read the info on how to.
- Doesn't always deal with re-orenting the screen correctly (displays landscape height in portrait mode)
- is too aggressive about starting to speak.... speaks when unplugging iPhone from car radio, speaks if you have it open, then pause and turn off, then on the iPhone, etc.
- some words it has trouble with, and mixed english / spanish docs it does not handle the spanish well.
- highlighting the currently being spoken text sometimes is not exactly right
- had trouble speaking 1 frame of a web site
My use: iPhone 4S, iOS v5 and v6. v6 was better, web pages only (I didn't try dropbox, etc.)
Well worth it for my use, though still rough around the edges,
I can store ebooks in Dropbox and listen to them easily with web reader.
DEVELOPER WON'T DEVELOP/FIX
I used to use Web Reader all day, every day. As a result, I was able to send the developer a long list of problems (many of which others have reported) and various "feature requests". I sent my last email back in 2011; but NO CHANGE; and almost no response. So thank God there is finally a better product called "VOICE DREAM". This does everything and more than Web Reader; and does it BETTER. Occasional crash; but haven't found an app that doesn't crash occasionally. In fact, before VOICE DREAM, I actually had to use TWO apps by same developer, in order to work around all of the issues with BOTH of these apps (Web Reader & TalktoMe). With VOICE DREAM, I need only one app to do everything and MORE than these two apps did. Now I can save hard drive space, by finally getting rid of Web Reader and TalktoMe; and, most importantly, I now have an app that does everything I need it to do. So my entire office will be switching over to VOICE DREAM.
List of problems/features reported/requested to developer that were never fixed/implemented:
1. NO SELECT ALL; but often App didn't work well, unless you use the COPY option (many words skipped for some reason) - but, for a while, the COPY to SPEAK stopped working; but was eventually fixed. No easy way to manually select large text dox, by dragging handles - always hit a limit; so I would spend so much time just trying to select text or figuring out ways to get this to work.
2. Sometimes app has trouble with displaying "portrait/landscape" - seeming to display portrait while in landscape or some such - very annoying.
3. HIDE IMAGES not always working properly - meaning images displaying when they should not
4. Unpredictable behavior - app would start speaking on load, even if this option was NOT selected or would unexpectedly STOP reading, in certain situations - more details about this, given to the developer.
5. Hitting FORWARD BROWSER BUTTON causes app to STOP SPEAKING - so no way to easily continue to browse for other articles/blogs, while in the midst of having app "read" a web page. You CAN use the BACK BUTTON or CLICK LINK on current webpage, without interrupting speech; but not the FORWARD button - odd.
6. Additionally, if you click in the address bar to change web page, the app will stop speaking - which agains totally limits how much you can do to prepare the next page for reading.
VOICE DREAM handles ALL of this so much better!!! I can continue to fully browse and set up pages for "speaking", WITHOUT interrupting speech.
7. I requested a CUSTOM DICTIONARY; so we could tell the app how to properly speak certain words that occurred over and over again - in some cases many abbreviations have been paired with set words that do NOT always work. Roman numerals are a problem, for example. This was just a request; but not necessary - certainly not a "deal breaker", like most of the other issues.
8. App did not ALWAYS respond properly to headphone buttons, when it should have and often did
9. PDF reading has been implemented; but really doesn't work well, unless the PDF happens to be in the "perfect format" - whatever that might be. However, even when this feature works, I have NEVER had a perfect reading of a PDF. In fact, it is usually just a bunch of garbage words - no words that appear to be on the page or a combination of garbage and actual words.
10. If web pages have any UNUSUAL LAYOUT, Web Reader has trouble either highlight or reading. Again, VOICE DREAMS works so much better, in this situation, due to additional options that Web Reader and TalktoMe don't have.
11. Wondering if a way to SUPPRESS the speaking of URL's, because it is NOT NECESSARY and URL's are often very long and just a bunch of random characters. Seems like this would NOT be difficult to do: to make app SKIP the reading of URL's (or replace with standard word, like "web site").
12. Highlighting text while reading has NEVER worked properly, as far as I can tell. The BEST that would occur is that an entire PARAGRAPH would get highlighted. And, in the event of a LONG PARAGRAPH, this would hardly be useful. Additionally, I would often notice that the WRONG text was being highlighted - NOT the text being read
13. Requested "FIND ON PAGE" option (like Safari)
14. Requested "MULTIPLE WINDOWS" option (like Safari) - but not necessary, if you can do full web browsing, while listening to the app.
15. "READER" feature (like Safari), to auto pull text out of a web page. I suspected Web Reader did something like this; but wanted something more like Safari. I finally got a version of this with VOICE DREAM.
I should note that prior to the list (above) sent, this developer was very responsive; and tended to implement requested changes. However, I never heard back from the developer; nor did he opt to consider making ANY of the changes requested.
So thank god there is now another option for those with the need for a serious, professional-level text-to-speech program: VOICE DREAM.
- Category: Productivity
- Updated: Jan 08, 2013
- Version: 2.6.0
- Size: 115 MB
- Language: English
- Seller: Chris Chauvin
- © 2009 Chris Chauvin
Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.