Why the new Apple’s iBooks for iOS is so bad and ugly.

The new icon.

The new icon.

The new iOS iBooks version is the worst thing ever happened to me since switching to Apple (with a G4 Mac mini).

I was quiet happy with previous version of iBooks, and eager to eventually use it on the Mac too with Mavericks, while with the new one for iOS the reading experience got from pleasant to really shitty.

This is what I dislike the most.

  • The general new design (Apple introduced it as a “marvellous new design” but, as they say: marvellous my ass). This is not adhering to new iOS7’s design tendencies and principles, this is just bad work or rather lack of a decent work at all. Go see for yourself. It’s ugly, and pointless, while many other apps, renewed for iOS7, look refreshed, cleaner and better. Minimalism does not mean just taking away without thinking what to put in instead.

  • The highlighting color. This is where the bad work done on design generates issues. If you highlight some part of the text, you can hardly read it again, specially with the darker colors. This disrupt many workflows of mine, for I am an avid commenter and highlighter of books.

  • The sharing features. I am also fond of sharing, I even create a group on Facebook where like-minded people can share books’s excerpts. While the sharing features into previous version was fine, the one coded into the present one is awful and almost useless: if you share something via mail, you end up with a cluttered mail with

    • today’s date (what is the point? And who should care?)
    • mail subject populated with data from the books (while with previous iBooks it was empty and an handy place to write down some quick remark)
    • the message’s body starts with the name of the chapter (who the fuck should care? Since when when quoting a books you tell the name of the chapter? It’s just bloating)
    • then you finally get the excerpts, but after that you get again the books data, the same ones already included into the subject, and into my language the translation is wrong

If you post such a mess into social network or a personal note of yours, you are posting something difficult to read and just … messy to see, search, review, handle, etc..

This is a shame, for iBooks is a staple in my everyday work as a lawyer and my general life as a reader. A good eco system for reading should be a key strategy for Apple, otherwise many people could go kindle or Android (which I have not myself as yet only because of ubiquitous iBooks).

I noticed some other quirks, with mobile Safari and JavaScript and have been victim of the gmail + Maverick mail mess and I think Apple at the present time does not offer the same quality level it used to offer since a couple of years ago. The difference was into details, now those details are gone and they were sometimes even replaced with issues instead.

I would have switched to Android, but I do not like google either. And on the desktop, I won’t leave my Mac work environment even if Ubuntu is a great project, but I won’t update the OS as soon as it is released any more, but will wait some months (something windows users used to do).

I have no clue as wether iBooks will be fixed, and even if other ones consider this a mess like I do (I sow some pretty angry reviews on the app store and some complaining onto mobileread forums), so I guess Ill just wait and see, meanwhile using some good other apps like Marvin which though lacks a Mac version.

About Tiziano Solignani

L'uomo che sussurrava ai cavilli... Cassazionista, iscritto all'ordine di Modena dal 1997. Autore, tra l'altro, di «Guida alla separazione e al divorzio», «Come dirsi addio», «9 storie mai raccontate», «Io non avrò mai paura di te». Se volete migliorare le vostre vite, seguitelo su facebook, twitter, linkedIn, g+ e nei suoi gruppi. Se volete acquistare un'ora (o più) della sua attenzione sui vostri problemi, potete farlo da qui.

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