Apple’s iBooks presents a serious overhaul with its update to version 1.5. The two year old application catering the e-book-reading habits of the iPhone and iPad users gets some very significant and much needed upgrades in its UI.
First, it’s an inclusion of “night-reading” mode (white type on black background) available on Kindle for iOS from the start. If anything, readability of -e-books in this mode is questionable, at least, but it’s good to have an option anyway.
Another update introduces a better possibility for full screen, no page margins text layout. This feature is quite important for customers who used to read their e-books from smallish iPhone screen. Though here again a “legacy” feature of traditional books called page margins, or borders keeps its stake as a more convenient option with better readability for iPad with its more or less normal book size.
Athelas, Charter, Iowan, and Seravek are the new and very fine fonts added to iBooks in this update as well.
Here is a sample of one of the new texts, Seravek:
Traditional font repertoire for iOS was always excellent, but adding more beautiful, finely tuned fonts will appeal even more to many aesthetically-minded readers. Still LCD screens, even sporting high resolutions, are not the best displays to attract a reader that can devour more than couple dozen pages at a time.
There’s more upgraded and added features for public domain faux covers renditions, then there’s a redesigned annotation palette as well. Free e-books on the iBooks shelves, look more expensive now, with the textured covers and whatnot. Upgrade 1.5 to iBooks has also added pop-up footnotes.
All in all, the iBooks upgrade 1.5 brings reading on i-devices closer to the experience gained from major Android -e-readers such as Aldiko, Cool Reader, FBReader and a dozen more capable of understanding up to 20 e-book formats and offering many services required by avid book worms. Then, the Amazon Kindle’s functionality for specific uses of instructional “digital” materials such as textbooks, workbooks, manuals, etc., is still not in line with the iBooks capabilities catering mostly a casual reader.
The lower hook on small “l” in Seravek is a great feature anyway.