California-based Imaja releases major upgrade to Speak News RSS news reader with text-to-speech, with many new features and improvements, available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Speak News delivers streamlined RSS news feeds, with flexible Settings for text-to-speech, earphone remote control support, and more.
Speak News now has better multitasking for downloading news for offline reading, updating feeds in the background while reading or speaking news feeds in the foreground.
Fast Background Update action now works in the background, so you can keep reading news from any bookmark while other sources are updated.
The Update While Reading action displays and autoscrolls a news feed’s stories for a user-determined interval, and then loads the next news feed in the Bookmarks collection. This is a useful hands-free speed reading mode for news aficionados.
The new voice library in Speak News can be used to select the set of voices to use for speaking stories, speaking each story in a new voice for distinction.
Speak News adds international language support for text-to-speech with a voice library and a new option in the app’s Settings view: Use voice for story language. A voice appropriate to the language of a story can be automatically selected for text-to-speech. High-quality voices for various world regions and languages can be downloaded in the Settings app on the device.
Follow news topics with Speak News query bookmarks. Query downloaded RSS news feed stories for keywords and create collections of stories on favorite topics from different sources in the bookmarks collection. Queries work with downloaded content, even when offline. Queries can be spoken using dictation with a simple natural language phrase such as "story contains hurricane".
Speak News adds support for Twitter and Google URLs as a type of bookmark. Natural language shortcuts can be used to create Twitter and Google News bookmarks. Twitter bookmarks can include tweets for a particular user, or a Twitter hashtag or search phrase. Google News bookmarks include a topic search.
Tweets are optimized by Speak News for screen reading and text-to-speech by optional replacement of web links with a link icon. The elimination of user icons and tweet images simplifies the visual reading experience by removing distractions.
Speak News includes support for reading a Feedly OPML file to import RSS news feed URLs in bulk into the Speak News bookmarks collection.
Speak News now includes improved toolbar button layout for iPad and iPhone in both portrait and landscape orientations. The set of toolbar buttons is optimized for each model of iPhone based on the screen size and orientation. Rotate the phone to landscape mode to reveal more buttons.
This Speak News update also includes a reorganized Settings view for clarity and ease of use, including improved controls for View Mode and Display Style. Other improvements include special character HTML code translation, speech feedback for user actions, and smooth scrolling behavior. Update Feeds and Add New Bookmarks views are now popovers in the app's current display style, easier to use, and nicer on the eyes when using one of the dark mode display styles.
Speak News has been updated for iOS 10, updating the visual style of the Speak News Today widget for iOS. More keyboard commands have been added for users with an external keyboard connected to the iPad or iPhone. Keyboard shortcuts provide navigation, speech playback control and more.
Speak News supports getting the RSS feed URL automatically from a web site, if supported by the particular web site. Create a bookmark manually and use the regular URL for a web site, and Speak News will automatically get the RSS feed URL if available.
If an RSS feed has any validation errors, Speak News will include a link to the feed validator page with errors at w3.org. This feature is useful for news publishers and webmasters who want to improve the coding of their RSS feeds.
Visit http://www.imaja.com/speaknews for complete details.
Imaja’s Greg Jalbert points out the innovative new features, “Imaja created Speak News to expedite news research and sharing. This major update includes powerful news search capabilities for searching the offline cache of stories. We made it easy to create queries for the bookmark library. Google News queries and Twitter feeds and searches can be added to the Bookmarks collection using natural language phrases entered with dictation or the keyboard.
“Also included are improved user interface graphics and controls, flexible text-to-speech controls, and voice library configuration. This update refines our vision of a powerful news reader for your eyes and ears. The Settings view in Speak News lets users determine the desired behavior of Speak News text-to-speech, audio mixing, feed updating, display styles, and more.”
• iOS 8 or later
Pricing and Availability:
Speak News 2.2 is available for the price of $4.99 (USD), available worldwide exclusively from Apple’s iOS App Store in the Business and Productivity categories.
Speak News 2.2: http://www.imaja.com/speaknews
Purchase and Download: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/speak-news-rss-news-reader/id1117146910?mt=8
iPhone Screenshot: http://www.imaja.com/speaknews/images/SpeakNews-iPhone6-UpdateFeeds_2x.jpg
iPad Screenshot: http://www.imaja.com/speaknews/images/SpeakNews-iPad-NewsSettings_2x.jpg
App Icon: http://www.imaja.com/speaknews/images/SpeakNewsIcon.png
Located in Berkeley, California, USA, Imaja was founded in 1985 by Greg Jalbert, and publishes a variety of productivity, business, calendar, task management, and animation software for macOS/Mac OS X, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch.