I've written about Narro before, way back four months ago when Josh Beckman's text to speech service was just a web application, but as I pointed out in last Thursday's "Meanwhile, In The App Store" — Narro is now a proper iOS app, complete with a share extension that makes converting URLs to podcasts easier than ever.
Outside being an iOS app, Narro appears to work identically as before, offering the same pros and cons. In the pro column, Narro makes quick work of converting text to speech, promptly sending the results to your podcast player of choice as a brand new episode (when you sign up with Narro, the service provides you with a podcast URL for your Narro subscription). At face value, this is really cool — whether it be for folks like me who have abundant time for listening at work or while commuting, or for those who struggle with reading comprehension or reading stamina. In the cons column it's really just this — Narro's spoken voice playback isn't perfect. Picture something like Siri (though there are several voices to choose from) dictating every word of text from a webpage (captions, pull quotes, titles, etc.) with the occasional pepper of digital pops and other audio oddities — all adding up to a listening experience that borders on somewhat annoying, but tolerably so.
As before, Narro is free, which allows for 20 article conversions per month — a fair number I doubt most will normally reach. For $8 a month you can subscribe to Narro Pro, allowing for unlimited article conversions and the ability to pull articles from read-it-later service Pocket (in addition to plain text). I'll just note that in my experience the Narro extension only worked in Safari, attempts to use it in Instapaper (which uses Safari View Controller) or Unread (which doesn't) simply fail — an inconvenience (surmountable though it may be) given many of us read inside apps other than Safari. Still, given Narro's cost and potential usefulness, Narro, be it the app or web service, remains well worth trying.
Narro requires iOS 8.0 or later and is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.