OK, so like so many people, I jumped on the bandwagon to see what the band was playing after the release of Apple’s iBooks Author Application. With my less that helpful internet access, the download was long and painful but I finally got the application.
Upon first launch, it seemed pretty familiar. It looked like Pages or Keynote and so I figured that the learning curve wouldn’t be too bad. I was excited about this. After all, Apple really changed the digital landscape with previous software titles.
- iMovie brought movie making to the masses. With the intuitive interface, even people with little talent could do the deed and create movies that I could upload and play anywhere.
- Garageband made me a musician. I could create songs with my limited abilities and have done so just as a hobbiest. My biggest use was to create podcasts with music and generate audio files that I could play anywhere.
- iPhoto made me think I could be a great story teller. Take some images, add some effects and some music and I’m able to do some pretty neat things, export them and play them anywhere.
With these three applications, I was able to create some personal products. They inspired me to look for similar products on Windows and Ubuntu where I quickly learned to use Garageband, Photostory, Movie Maker and more to generate some creations. I’m no threat to my son in the multimedia creation/editing business but I don’t think that was ever my destiny. For me, it is just a great hobby.
So, does iBooks Author make another significant difference and push me to be a great publisher that I’m able to write and share stories anywhere?
The common thread in all of the previous titles was that I could move to any computer and do my work and share the results on any other computer. Things like .mp3, .avi, .mov allowed for playback on any machine after sometime perhaps finding an appropriate player.
I expected the same type of thing with iBooks Author. It would be interesting to create an electronic version of something and play the same version on any computer or my iPad or my Android phone. But, this doesn’t appear to be the case. The current version exports into a proprietory format .itmsp suitable for publishing through Apple’s bookstore and playable only on iOS devices. The other alternatives include exporting as PDF or txt. Sadly, there’s no support for .epub format. That’s what I was looking for when I downloaded this product.
Some stories that caught my eye today supported my original impression.
- Why iBooks will never come to Mac OS
- 3 Major Problems With Apple’s Education Announcement
- Do we want textbooks to live in Apple’s walled garden?
Even Apple’s Keynote application has a proprietory format but exports to the commonly used, and cross platform, Powerpoint format. So, my first blush sees a product that looks like it has fallen short of the mark. If we’re looking for a common educational text or other sort of book, should we not be looking for something that plays the same way on every device? At this point, that common format would be PDF. Is that the future of digital books? I sure hope so.
I recognize that this version 1.0. It looks like a very interesting and functional product but I’m hoping that this is the beginning with development for the “game changer” on all platforms. It’s not doing so at this time.