In a bid to take on the likes of Nexus 7, Nook and Kindle Fire, Apple has finally announced the iPad mini, aiming to have it pegged as the best eBook reader available in the market. While the physical dimensions of the device sound just about perfect for long reading sessions, you’ll still need a good app for reading and managing your eBooks. Apple already offers a nice reading app of its own in the shape of iBooks, which just got updated for the better. The app now supports iCloud integration, which means your book purchases will be visible across all your devices simultaneously. The interface remains the same (not that it needed improvement), but a useful new theme has been added to the mix. Thanks to this theme, users can now read scroll vertically within the app’s reader, rather than flipping horizontally through pages. Other additions include multiple dictionaries and easy sharing of text snippets over social media.
If you are on iOS 6, iBooks will display all the purchases ever made via your iCloud account. You can download these books to your device at any time you want. The iCloud books appear alongside titles stored locally on your iPhone or iPad, and are distinguished by a small iCloud icon on their cover. Another way to view your iCloud collection is to go to the Purchased tab in the iTunes book store. Again, this feature is only available to iOS 6 users.
Users mostly deem eBooks to be static purchases that don’t undergo any changes after they have been downloaded. iBooks 3.0 has changed this concept, and now books can be updated, just like apps! These book updates may contain new content, revisions and other changes to formatting.
New Dictionary Languages
The Define button in iBooks’ action menu can now be used to access dictionaries for various languages including German, Spanish, French, Japanese and Chinese, as long as any of these languages is set up as the default language for your device. Like iCloud integration, this feature is limited to iOS 6.
Arguably the most noticeable change in iBooks is the new Scroll theme. This theme can be activated from the Themes section, and will automatically replace page-flip navigation with vertical scrolling. It pushes the scroll bar from the bottom of the screen to the right-hand side, and a new bar at the bottom that lists page count and the number of pages left in a chapter.
Once any part of a book’s text is highlighted, you will notice a new arrow icon in the action menu. This button lets you share the selected text over Facebook, Twitter, via email or through text messages.
iBooks 3.0 just went live in the App Store, and as before, is available for free.