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View Full Version : iBooks 1.1 out with PDF support – mini-review & full (!) comparison & feature chart

06-22-2010, 03:22 AM
You may already have noticed that iBooks 1.1 has been released some 4-5 hours ago for iOS4-based iPhones and iPod touches (and, of course, the iPad).

Well, to make a long story short, I’ve expected more. FAR more. Unfortunately, the PDF support in iBooks 1.1 doesn’t really live up to my expectations – some of the third-party PDF readers (e.g., GoodReader, iAnnotator etc.) are way more powerful.

There are only three areas where I can only recommend iBooks 1.1:

- Night-time reading: third-party apps that do support “decreasing” the backlight just make whites darker (that is, decrease the contrast of the page). Not so with iBooks: it, having legal and official access to the brightness control of the iPad, doesn’t need such tricks to decrease brightness. The result is: far more contrasty and easier-to-read PDF files than with any of the 3rd party PDF readers.

- Opening PDF files you receive in an e-mail. So far, this has been impossible unless you used a PDF(-capable) third-party reader (e.g., GoodReader 2.8.1 by Yuri Selukoff and ReaddleDocs 1.1.0 by Igor Zhadanov) also offering direct access to one’s POP3 or IMAP mailboxes. Nevertheless, even then it was a bit complicated to access these files.
Note that, in my tests, I haven’t managed to make this feature work. There is supposed to be a “Open in iBooks” button in mails with PDF attachments. In my tests (where Mail did notice the PDF files I’ve thrown it at), it was never displayed. Note that a lot of other people has run into the same problem – see e.g. http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=11718309

- You want to purchase PDF books right from iTunes Store on your iDevice. Then, iBooks is the only way to go.

Why I don’t (necessarily) recommend this title over the best alternative PDF readers, then? It’s simple: it severely lacks features: no link support, no text copy, no annotations / highlighting, no page cropping, no keeping open several files at the same time, not even support for TOC. Especially the latter is a real pain in the back, I’d say.

Note that I’ve been working on a full (!) comparison of most PDF(-capable) readers. So far, I’ve created the chart of the article, which has most of the info. I’ve also added iBooks 1.1 to it (see the second column). See http://winmobiletech.com/sekalaiset/201006iPadPDF/201006iPadPDFv1.html . Note that, as has been explained in my dedicated article at http://www.iphonelife.com/blog/87/ipad-pdf-reader-roundup-preview , this chart is still a work-in-progress and, therefore, doesn’t have any dynamic hiding capabilities, unlike the final version to be published in 1-2 days. Stay tuned :)