Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More Apple WWDC iBooks Noise - Syncing, PDFs, and Agnosticism

From MobilitySite:
Slipped into all the noise of the iPhone 4 announcement, Steve Jobs had some interesting [comments] concerning the future of iBooks. As we all assumed he would, he followed the normal Apple pattern of announcing expanded functionality for a product announced in the previous big event. In this case Apple is opening up iBooks to PDF reading, annotations and proper bookmarking, which are very important steps in the evolution of the product.

Even more interesting is that Apple is moving iBooks squarely into position to compete with the Kindle head on. For one thing, they are porting the iBooks functionality to the iPhone as well, and I assume the iPod Touch if not now then in the near future when they release iOS 4 for that device. This gives at least a hint that Apple is buying into the prevailing business models for other ebook vendors such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, that ebook reader software should be agnostic, and not be tied down to a single device. Whether this means that we will see Apple providing the iBooks software for Windows Phone 7 or Android, I don’t know yet…however I am almost certain we will at least see iBooks Reader for Mac and Windows. Remember that Apple’s media empire didn’t really get going until they provided iTunes for Windows.

In addition, Apple is taking the incredibly important step of making books you buy from the iBookstore load and sync on ALL devices running iBooks. So when you close your book on your iPad, it opens to the same place on your iPhone. This mimics Kindle’s WhisperSync technology which would be essential if Apple means to seriously compete with Amazon in ebooks, especially since B&N PROMISES this ability, but their forums are filled with comments that it has yet to work. If Apple can sync iBooks between the iPad and iPhone before you can sync B&N Reader between them, or between a Nook and your iPhone for that matter, then that will give Apple a major advantage. ...