Between my podcasts, my blog/newsletter, and my social feeds, I do a lot of reading online to keep up with what’s going on online. For years I’ve used apps like Pocket and Instapaper on iOS to save articles for later reading offline. I use both because it’s nice to have a backup of all the stuff I’m saving, and often if an article doesn’t format correctly in one app it looks fine in the other.
But recently, Pocket added a listening feature that’s made me use the app much more heavily. It uses Amazon Polly to create a listenable text-to-speech version of every article you’ve saved. This means you can now listen to saved articles instead of being forced to read them.
As a result, I’ve now been consuming articles at a much higher rate than before. There are many contexts where it’s easier and more acceptable to be listening to something rather than reading it, and this app makes things easier in those contexts.
As great as this is, there are a few things I wish they’d improve:
- It’s currently not possible (or at least not obviously possible) how to make a custom audio playlist with articles you’ve saved. This would be a cool feature to add in the future.
- I wish I had the ability to choose which voice I wanted to read the article. On Android, I believe this is already a feature.
- My most desired feature is the ability to start consuming an article in one format, and then resume it later in another. For instance, sometimes I’ll be reading an article via text on a bus, then need to get off at my stop. It would be great to switch to audio right then. Currently the app does not allow you to resume right where you left off.
You can check out Pocket at getpocket.com.