iPhone and eBooks: an Early FlirtationJuly 29, 2007
I played with the iPhone for an extended period yesterday, and it delivered the revolutionary, eye-popping experience that everyone has . It’s clear that this is the future — not just for mobile phones, but for handheld devices of all types, tablet PCs and perhaps other categories of devices we haven’t yet envisioned.
I took a look at the same ebooks that I posted to see how they behaved in real life. The one thing the photographs can’t convey is the extraordinary sharpness, brilliant color and overall quality of the display. Even when the PDFs were reduced to fit the full page on the screen, the text was actually still readable, though at such a tiny size that it was necessary to magnify the page to be comfortable. The pages rendered more beautifully than they do on my MacBook Pro with its high-quality screen.
As I noted in the earlier post, the iPhone has some serious (but very correctable) shortcomings in its PDF and file handling. But even given those limitations, the iPhone is still surprisingly usable for certain kinds of content.
The also worked reasonably well as a reference guide where I might look up short bits of content, though navigating to specific material within the book would be a problem given the limited navigation tools.
The promise here is very real. My previous speculation (based solely on word-of-mouth and a few still photos) is confirmed — a few software updates could make the iPhone (and its offspring, especially the ones that a larger display) the killer devices in the ebook world.
I’ll continue to experiment with the iPhone and I’ll post more thoughts and perhaps a video or two here. Stayed tuned!