Michel Thomas Method — The iPhone app
Speaking of tutor apps on the iPhone, here’s something that a friend of mine recommended I check out. It was released early June, so pardon my lateness in reporting. It’s the Michel Thomas language tutor app for the iPhone.
Michel Thomas, of whom I first heard of after finding out about this app, devised a way of teaching new languages without requiring any ‘effort’ on your part. Your job is to relax, and just listen. And this philosophy carries through to his app, where the ‘listening’ screen, which is vividly animated with soothing colours, and features just a play pause button. This is a welcome change from the traditional audio based apps which show you the current playback position on a straight timeline. If you do need to shuttle back and forth, hit the pause button, and you spin the trackhead around the button, which is much easier to do, and gives you a better idea of where you are in the lessons. Another great example of thoughtful design.
Add to that the app features flash cards for revising, effective chaptering, providing a way better experience than an audiobook. The app is free, and comes with a few preview lessons, after which you in-app purchase hour packs for either French, Spanish, Italian, or German. You can view demo videos on the site.