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Thursday, October 10, 2013

JW Library App Surprisingly Unimpressive

With short notice (48 hours), the Watchtower organization debuted two new apps for iOS and Android.  JW Library, and JW Library Sign Language.

Currently, the app is the 113th most popular free app in the App Store.  At one point on Monday, it was the third most popular iOS app, and in the top 20 for Android.  In the last three days, the app has seen over 100,000 downloads on Apple devices alone.  There have been over 100,000 downloads on Android, as well.

In the Google Play Store, the app currently has 19,809 reviews.  19,638 are five star reviews.  On iOS, it has a total of 14,059 reviews, 13,878 of which are five star.  That's 99.1% and 98.7% respectively.  Reading some of these reviews, it appears that most people believe that God himself programmed the code.

"All glory, honor, and praise to the only true and living God Jehovah who has provided."
"I love this app.  So simple.  So easy.  Jehovah always gives the greatest gifts."
"Yes and now there is an app for that - for our newly clarified nwt bible and references to the extreme.  Bible highlights here I come!  Thank you Jehovah.  You truly are so good..."

So, late last night, I downloaded the app on my phone.  And, I have to admit, I'm not really impressed.

First of all, the "library" has a total of 6 Bible translations - The New World Translation (2013 Revision), a "Reference Bible", the Kingdom Interlinear, the Byington translation, the American Standard Version, and the King James.

That's it.  With the dozens of books and brochures that Jehovah's Witnesses have published, and the hundreds of editions of The Watchtower and Awake! that have been produced, the only JW-published publication on the app is the Bible.

I would hardly consider this a "library".  If the only books I had on my shelf were the 'Twilight' series, I would be hard pressed to legitimately say that I had a "library".  I was shocked to discover that the app didn't even have an option to view the daily text, the weekly Bible reading, access the Witnesses website, or to contact them to schedule a bible study.

In all fairness, JW Library is quite pleasant to look at.  The user interface is simple and easy to use, with an appeasing array of grays and purples.  

That being said, the app is pretty much useless.  As one of Jehovah's Witnesses, when are you going to read the Bible without any "study aids"?  When do Jehovah's Witnesses EVER encourage people to read their Bible, without the help from any Watchtower published books or magazines? Sure, the Revised New World Translation may "read like a novel" (which is depressing in and of itself), but you don't see JWs going door to door, trying to put Bibles in people's hands.

There are a two appendixes included in the application, which have a number of charts and maps, diagrams of King Solomon's temple and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and assorted weights and measures.  They're interesting to look at, but provide nothing than trivial information.  They remind me of the maps that used to be in the binding of the old green Bibles.  It's something to look at when you're bored by the Sunday talk.

Like I said...interesting.  But, there's nothing here that will be useful in your day to day life.  Coincidentally, the biblical measurement for a span is the same method you use to accurately measure one's penis.

Even as someone that was no longer in the faith, I was looking forward to using the app to keep up with the rhetoric and "new light" coming from the bigwigs in New York.  Sadly, I was underwhelmed.  I've seen much better "JW" apps that were made by individuals trying to make a quick buck.