Price: $4.99 Download on the App Store
Talk Mail Pro reads emails received via Google, MobileMe, AOL Mail — any IMAP-enabled email account — out loud.
First, a quick example of IMAP in action, for those who may not be familiar with the acronym. IMAP is short for Internet Message Access Protocol and it's a common Internet standard for email, along with POP, which stands for Post Office Protocol. Most email readers support both.
If you access an IMAP-enabled account from your iPhone or iPod touch, then you probably know that when you read a message on your device, the message appears as read when you access the same account from your laptop or desktop PC. If you access a POP-enabled account from your device and read a message it has no effect on the email in your account (it will still appear as unread when you access your account later, in other words).
Launch Talk Mail Pro, enter a name for your account, your user or screen name and password. The app is configured for Google, MobileMe, and AOL Mail. For other accounts, check your ISP's site for the IMAP server address (invariably, it's IMAP dot something or other dot com) and any other information you need.
Once you're set up, tap the account name under the Accounts tab on the menu bar at the bottom of screen. You'll first hear a female, computer-generated voice, telling you Talk Mail Pro is accessing the account and to be patient. It took only a few seconds for Talk Mail Pro to access my Gmail account, so I wasn't put out or anything. Then a male voice read my messages to me.
You can navigate your emails by swiping your finger up (skip forward), down (skip backward) and left (next message), right (previous message). Tap twice to archive in Gmail and tap three times to delete the message.
Under the Settings tab you can set Talk Mail Pro to announce the date, read or ignore the first message and then mark the message read. You can also adjust speed and pitch of the computerized voice.
Talk Mail Pro worked right out of the box. I started using it with Gmail in probably less than 20 seconds. Talk Mail Pro uses the typical computer-generated voices — nothing fancy but functional. Pronunciation was good for most words; it stumbled on some longer words and acronyms — IMAP came out as IM-AP, for example — but there was little to worry about.
You can also read your email at the same time it is spoken.
Talk Mail Pro is a nice piece of work.