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iBooks Author support for the iPhone should be on Apple's to-do list

Serenity Caldwell | Sept. 6, 2013
For all we've heard about iOS 7 in the lead up to next week's iPhone event, one Apple avenue has been eerily silent: iBooks and the iBooks Store.

But while comparing wording can often be as truth-telling as reading tea leaves, I do think the description change is significant. If this were simply an early draft of the requirements for iBooks Author ebooks post-OS X Mavericks, it would be easy enough to leave in "on an iPad." That the wording has changed to "iOS device" intrigues me. Currently, even regular ebooks (.epub format) on the store list each model of iOS device supported. One of Macworld's own states the following: "This book requires iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later. Books can only be viewed using iBooks on an iPad, iPhone (3G or later), or iPod touch (2nd generation or later)."

The coming of the phone books

To my mind, it's likely that we'll see iBooks Author support on the iPhone when iOS 7 is released. The groundwork, after all, has already been laid. As I mentioned in my critique of the program last year, iBooks Author already has a potentially viable option for iPhone and iPod touch users—its reflowable portrait mode. In it, interactive elements float alongside the text, which itself can be resized by the reader. In addition, current iPhone models (and any that might get announced next week) will have more than enough power to display videos and other interactive content.

And from a strategic standpoint, with Amazon's Kindle platform offering new features like proprietary footnote pop-overs to publishers, Apple would be wise to bring books from its already-excellent ebooks design program to the rest of its device line-up. Building an iBooks Author-exclusive ebook is a lot more enticing if you're marketing it to the entire iOS and OS X ecosystem, rather than just users of individual devices.

Of course, no one can predict exactly what Apple might do next week. But I'm holding out hope that we'll see iBooks Author support for the iPhone very, very soon.


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