Amid the recent flurry of new hardware announcements by Apple, which saw the metaphoric lid being lifted on the long awaited iPad Mini
, and a new, fourth generation iPad
and a 13" Retina Display MacBook Pro
being announced, the company also unveiled a welcome update to its iBooks app.
At the time of this writing, iBooks 3.0 has become available in the South African app store, and it brings some welcome new features to Apple’s free e-reading app.
For starters, we found general navigation to be considerably faster than the previous iteration, which to our eyes always felt a bit sluggish as compared to some other e-reader choices available. This applies to switching between tabs to sort books by authors, titles and categories. Additionally, we also noticed that page turns themselves appeared faster as well.
Some new features on hand include the ability to scroll through a book vertically (instead of turning pages), and this can be selected by clicking on the fonts icon and then selecting themes, and checking scroll.
Additionally, iBooks 3 boasts support for iCloud, which enables users to access books across multiple iOS
devices using Apple’s Cloud, as well as those that have been stored to the iPad
This feature is particularly appropriate, considering the newly announced iPad Mini. It leaves us wondering whether Apple foresees existing iPad users splurging on an iPad Mini as well, and wishing to more elegantly access their ebooks on both devices interchangeably.
At its launch, Apple further tantalised that users would be able to look forward to free updates for books they have already purchased. New content that could be added may well include revisions which correct grammatical mistakes or typos, as well as new chapters.
Finally, the new version of iBooks has followed on from iOS 6’s Facebook integration
by adding a social sharing element, allowing readers to share highlighted text via Facebook
or Twitter as well as via email.
To the point
The availability of iBooks 3.0 may not have been the most exciting announcement of the event, but it is certainly a telling one.
It quite clearly indicates that Apple intends to focus on catering to the burgeoning e-reading market, most particularly in light of the launch of the 7.9" iPad Mini, which the company stressed could be comfortably held in one hand - as one would want to do with an e-reader.