iPhone Life magazine

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

 

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

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.

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Werner Ruotsalainen is an iOS and Java programming lecturer who is well-versed in programming, hacking, operating systems, and programming languages. Werner tries to generate unique articles on subjects not widely discussed. Some of his articles are highly technical and are intended for other programmers and coders.

Werner also is interested in photography and videography. He is a frequent contributor to not only mobile and computing publications, but also photo and video forums. He loves swimming, skiing, going to the gym, and using his iPads. English is one of several languages he speaks.