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Can an iPhone app force you to read faster?

Can an iPhone app force you to read faster?


Velocity is the fastest way to get through your epic Pocket queue

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"People can only read as fast as they can speak," say the makers behind Velocity, a new $2.99 speed-reading app for iOS 7. "Through silencing your inner voice," they say, you can effectively read much faster, and perhaps even raise your reading speed from 200 words per minute to a whopping 1,000 words per minute. The app flashes words in front of your eyes, and sure enough, before you know it, you've finished a 2,000-word "longread" that you would have ordinarily glazed over as you scrolled through your Instapaper or Pocket queue.

Before you know it, you've finished a 2,000 word "longread'

Velocity lets you pick from a few sources of material, like Instapaper, Pocket, a URL from the web, and text you've copied from an app or website. The app's most important setting is its words-per-minute slider, which lets you adjust how quickly worlds fly across your screen. The default is 300 words per minute, which the app says is a remarkable 50 percent more words per minute more than the average reader's speed.

Velocity for iPhone screenshots


One of the app's best features is that when you tap on an article, the app calculates how long it will take you to read it, similar to how blogging platform Medium quotes the length of each article in minutes before you begin reading it. By quantifying the act of reading a longer article, Velocity and Medium actually lower the barrier to reading longer articles. And right from within Velocity, you can archive items in Instapaper and Pocket, and even add new items using a mobile Safari bookmarklet.

Within Velocity, you can archive items in Instapaper and Pocket

"People have less free time and more to read, and Velocity solves both problems," says Velocity creator Matthew Bischoff. "We all use it every day on our commutes, in bed at night, and when we’re stuck in line to keep our Instapaper lists at manageable levels." Velocity's premise is sound, so it's usefulness is really a matter of whether you can take pleasure in reading, knowing that your forcing faster comprehension on slowpoke brain. In my tests, I did indeed read much faster, but I also focused much harder on paying attention to the app than to a book, for example. In a world where apps, gadgets, and rambunctious subway riders continually demand our attention, Velocity's mentally challenging interface is also a compelling feature.