Apple has today released an update for iBooks 2 on iOS devices to resolve issues that some users were having with opening the new media rich textbooks format recently released by the company. The update brings the iBooks software version up to 2.0.1 and will hopefully include some stability and bug fixes for their flagship eBook software.
Personally, since the iBooks 2 update, I’ve had sporadic problems with launching the iBooks app, with load times in excess of 10 seconds on an iPad 2 with less than 100 ePub books in the application. It’s too early to tell if Apple has resolved this issue in the latest update, but so far, with around ten or so quit and re-launches, the issue hasn’t appeared again.
Having spent a bit of time being irked by the fact that Apple hasn’t included native support for opening EPub files on the Mac, I was happy to see the launch of the app iBooks Author on the Mac App Store yesterday. The fact that you could create and export EPub files in Pages only to be unable to open them back up again in Pages seemed to be a weird omission so iBooks Author was a happy new piece of software. The fact that I had to rely on third party software like Calibre…well, as you can tell, I was very happy to see iBooks Author.
So imagine that feeling evaporating when I fired up iBooks Author and found that I wasn’t able to open an EPub file on it. So it seems that, once again, you can create those EPub files but aren’t able to open them on your Mac without software like (in which it is rather difficult to see the correct formatting). Weird, no?
Apple has held its media event in New York City today and has announced a new initiative focused upon textbooks in education.
The company today introduced iBooks 2, a sequel to iBooks which will provide a new rich, interactive experience for students using textbooks on the iPad. The new app allows for enhanced interactive features, glossary, definitions and in-app notetaking. The navigation and search capabilities are also improved and enhanced support for interactive animations and diagrams has been included. The new app has been made available today on the iOS App Store.
According to a new report which has come from GoodEReader.com (via 9to5Mac), Apple is apparently preparing to launch a new E-publishing Program in late January, tied in with the reported Apple media event. The program would be designed to get budding unsigned authors to use the new self-publishing platform to get their content on the iBookstore. If this takes off, then it is essentially an resource with which Amazon or Barnes and Noble could find it difficult to compete.
Certainly, one of the ways that Apple could help to drive this digital self-publishing platform is through tight integration of iWork software and the iBookstore. Late last year, Apple placed an advertisement on their Corporate Jobs website looking for a software engineer who would be specifically focused upon import/export layers for the next generation of iWork software, likely now to be iWork ’12. This individual could be well placed to design and implement new features that would facilitate the rapid and easy publication of material directly from iWork, which can already export in EPUB format although, weirdly, does not open EPUB files.
Apple will reportedly be holding a media event in New York City in late January, according to Kara Swisher of AllThingsD. The event, as yet officially unannounced by Apple, will apparently be focused upon eBooks and media publishers (via TechCrunch). The event will also reportedly involve the Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Services and Software, Eddy Cue, who has responsibility for the iBookstore as well as the App Store and the iTunes Store.
It’s unclear at this stage what the event will actually be about but there are a few reasons why Apple could be holding this type of event. The first could potentially be the launch of a new pricing model for the iBookstore, beneficial for Apple, publishers and the consumer. A subscription based rental system (like Netflix for ebooks) may not be such a bad idea, after all, your local library has been doing it for a long time. Given that Apple streams TV, Movies and Music for a charge, why not books?
Hidden inside a rumor that emanated from BGR last week was the small snippet of information that Apple could be bringing iBooks functionality to OS X, finally giving users the ability to view eBooks on their Mac without downloading third party software. The rumor came from a report that Apple was considering purchasing Barnes and Noble. However, the source of the information was described as ‘unproven’ and therefore it is unclear whether this was simply conjecture or based upon any real insider information.
“This unproven source also said that iTunes 11 would be released in September along with iOS 5 and iCloud, and will support reading iBooks on computers as well as textbook purchases and rentals.”
Posted in News, Rumor
Tagged eBooks, ePub, Mac
Here’s an idea. It’s not a radical idea, but it lends itself well to some of the new functionality that is appearing in the next generation of OS X, version 10.7. More specifically, the new feature in Safari called ‘Reading List’. The new feature keeps a ‘reading list’ of pages that you want to read later (a more comprehensive description is here). Unfortunately, while the list can be synced to iOS devices, it isn’t quite up to the standard of Instapaper because you can’t read the list while offline or pull out the text for easy reading. In essence, it’s a glorified bookmark manager.
But it could be so much more. If the above features were added then it could at least have a chance of taking on Instapaper. But what would make it even better would be a tight integration with iBooks for Mac, a piece of software that is long overdue.
The Apple reading application, iBooks, which was released as part of iOS 4 for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch in April 2010, is one of the key apps that Apple has issued on their own mobile devices. While the iBooks app is certainly up against stiff competition in the form of the Amazon Kindle app, it has managed to gain a good proportion of dedicated users through its ease of use and integration with Safari and Mail.
While Mac users have previously relied upon other third party ebook applications to manage and read their ebook collections, the recent launch of the Mac App Store was expected to bring with it a native ebook reader from Apple, perhaps in the form of an iBooks app for Mac. But no such app has yet appeared and the recent appearance of the Amazon Kindle app on the Mac App Store has left some users wondering when Apple will be releasing their own ebook reader.
The standard Apple iPad application for eBook reading, iBooks, is one of the best examples of a solid, well-designed app on the iPad. It is a pleasure to use and has a wide range of functionality. Apple continues to add extra features to the app, as evidenced by today’s update which brought better handling and printing for PDF documents and the ability for users to categorize documents and books. But, reflecting darkly on iBooks, is the success of the Kindle application for iPad and Mac, together with the severe limitations of iTunes.
Regarding the Amazon Kindle app, the similarities with iBooks are remarkable and both apps are equally excellent in terms of reading, display and ease of use. However, Kindle has two massive advantages over the Apple system, the first being Continue reading
Apple has issued two new software updates today for iTunes and iBooks which include relatively minor changes and improvements for both programs. The update to iTunes, version 10.1.1 is mostly bug fixes related to unexpected shutdowns and compatibility when playing videos on Macs with 9400 or 9600 graphics cards.
The iBooks update, version 1.2, is slightly more comprehensive and allows users to organize their books into collections which can then be swiped through and selected. The update also brings support for printing PDF documents and notes using AirPrint and also includes enhanced compatibility for illustrated books. As a result of these updates, iBooks is becoming every part, one of the leading apps on the iPad. Continue reading