There just aren’t too many new OS X word processing applications appearing these days, with Microsoft Word and Apple’s Pages ruling the roost. So it was with some interest that I took a look at Wrise (US$29.99 introductory pricing at the Mac app store), which certainly provides a fresh take on word processing.
Like most word processors, Wrise gives you editing, font choices and background colors, as well as spelling and grammar correction. But it also has some very unique features:
- Pre-sets for fonts and page colors to quickly select or change for easy reading
- The app can read aloud what is on screen, and you can adjust the reading speed and the voice
- Text can be saved as an audio file and exported to iTunes or an mp4 format
- Wrise can read multilingual texts with automatic language detection
- The app contains 15 predictive dictionaries for English and use with other languages
I gave Wrise a try, and found it easy to use. I liked the ability to have it read aloud any text I’ve written or imported. While Apple provides a similar feature as part of OS X (usually under Edit > Speech in many apps), there is more control over this function in Wrise. The app can open PDF files, plain text and Word documents, but it could not open Pages files, which would have to be converted to Word format before importing. The “speak as you type” function was very useful as a proofreader. The layout of the pages and text makes for really easy reading, more than with other word processors. If you change the font and page colors, it doesn’t change the actual document, it just changes the display for easier reading, which is a nice feature.
Another unique feature is support of tags. You can add tags inside a document to control reading speed, voice, language and even the volume. Documents can be password protected, and sent for comments in a read-only mode.
Wrise supports Apple’s dictation feature, so you can turn speech into text, then have the app read it back to you. Wrise allows export in RTF or TXT formats. I’d like to see the app export PDF, Word and Pages.
The app is designed to make reading and writing easier, and I think it succeeds there. The developers also think it helps comprehension and composition, and it can be extremely useful for people with dyslexia.
Wrise is an interesting and unique product that is going to be of interest to people looking for a different approach to writing and reading. It’s not a page layout app like Word or Pages. It’s designed for text, and it accomplishes its mission. The $29.99 half-price offer is good until February 15.
Wrise requires OS X 10.9 or later and a 64-bit processor.