Spark has been on a roll. Just a few weeks ago, Readdle significantly improved search in its popular macOS email client. Today, Spark 1.4 for macOS takes another step further into professional app territory with the addition of several useful integrations with third-party apps, while Spark 1.9 for iOS adds deep PDF Expert support and other functionality.
Posts tagged with "readdle"
In my iOS 11 wish list for iPad and concept video, I focused on system-wide drag & drop – a feature that could reshape how iPad users move documents and data between apps. Readdle, makers of the popular Spark and PDF Expert, aren't waiting for Apple to add a native drag & drop framework to iOS, though. Today, in addition to the release of Documents 6, the company is updating most of their iPad apps with a custom drag & drop feature that simplifies the transfer of documents between two apps in Split View. I've been testing this functionality for the past week, and, even if it's not system-wide iOS drag & drop, it's been enough to pull me back into Spark and PDF Expert – at least for now.
PDF Expert launched on the Mac last November, and in my initial review I was pretty effusive, impressed at the level of functionality, polish, and speed for an initial release. At the time I even called it "a better Preview for PDFs", and had made PDF Expert the default application for viewing PDFs on my Mac. Nine months later, and it all still rings true. Better yet, Readdle is today launching a big version 2 update for PDF Expert which makes it an even better and more powerful app. Now you can now edit text, images, and outlines in PDFs, as well as password-protect your PDFs in PDF Expert 2.
Since my original review in May 2015, Readdle has been steadily improving their email client for iPhone, Spark, with changes that addressed many of my initial complaints. Over the past 10 months, Spark has received support for HTML signatures, the ability to select multiple messages and send multiple attachments; it's even been updated with customizable swipe gestures and better handling of attachments from cloud services. And in the aftermath of Mailbox's demise, Readdle (cleverly) rushed to update Spark with full-featured snooze options reminiscent of Dropbox's email client.
What Spark hasn't gained over the past year is a clear business model and an iPad version. The good news is that at least one of these omissions is being rectified today with the launch of Spark for iPad, an expansion to the bigger screen that I've been testing on my iPad for the past month.
Documents is a good file manager for iOS: its options aren't overwhelming, it lets you organize files in folders with decent search filters (unlike others), and now it can be used alongside other apps thanks to Slide Over and Split View. More importantly, it comes with a built-in web browser that, upon tapping download links, will bring up a downloader UI to start a download, choose where to save it, and monitor its progress.
Since releasing our eBook version of my iOS 9 review yesterday, the question I'm being asked the most is how to download the .zip archive containing two EPUB files directly on iOS. The problem is twofold: readers need to download a .zip file and expand it, then choose to open one of the EPUBs in iBooks for iPhone or iPad.
The main issue is that Safari seems to do nothing when tapping a download link (such as a link to a .zip file) in a webpage. In reality, Safari starts the download invisibly in the background (something I mentioned in the past) without showing any indicator or progress bar: if you leave the tab open long enough, the download will eventually complete and show you an outdated Open In menu to send the downloaded file to another app. In our case, because the .zip archive is well over 100 MB, tapping its download link in Safari may result in nothing showing in the browser for several minutes while the download is actually happening in the background, without the user knowing.
For this reason – and this goes beyond our eBook – I recommend using Readdle's Documents app to download and manage files on iOS 9: it's been updated for iOS 9 multitasking and search, it has a web browser with a downloader feature, and it's free on the App Store.
With iOS 8, Readdle updated their PDF Converter app for iPad with an action extension to quickly convert any webpage to PDF. While the same can be done with Workflow now, I like that PDF Converter saves documents automatically into the app, which can store them in iCloud Drive (and thus on all your devices) without even launching the app after a PDF has been generated.
PDF Converter was updated to version 2.2 yesterday with iPhone support – you can now “print” a webpage to PDF directly from Safari with the tap of a button without having to decide where you want to save the file. In the app, you can tap an iCloud Drive button to open the iOS 8 document picker and switch it to other document storage extensions, and you can also convert the contents of your clipboard or files from Dropbox.
If you don't want to convert webpages or files, PDF Converter's action extension shows up in the Photos app, which will let you convert images to PDF documents (handy if you, say, want to annotate screenshots with full-featured apps like PDF Expert).
PDF Converter 2.2 is available on the App Store at $2.99.
With Documents 5, released today on the App Store as a free update, Readdle is seeking to build its own ecosystem of interconnected apps on iOS. By leveraging inter-app communication features currently available on iOS but mostly ignored by Apple's apps, Readdle is turning Documents into a centralized location for files, which can be sent to other Readdle apps and modified without creating duplicate entries.
Released today on the App Store, PDF Expert 5 is Readdle’s new version of the popular PDF Expert for iPad, a feature-rich PDF manager and reader that I’ve been using on my iPad for years. PDF Expert 5, a separate app sold at $9.99 on the App Store, brings a cleaner design for iOS 7 and, more importantly, new functionalities such as better document management, an improved sidebar and document viewer, Review mode, and more.
Last month, I reviewed Readdle's Calendars 5 and noted how, in spite of getting many things right with event presentation and Reminders integration, the app had been released with some dubious choices for Reminders management, date settings, and task creation. In particular, I noted how the way Readdle supposedly "enhanced" Reminders with a Today list led to more confusion than actual benefits. I concluded that Calendars 5 was a great calendar and reminders client with dozens of nice features and a good set of views, but that needed a more streamlined implementation of Reminders and reliable sync.