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October 23, 2012

Apple Launches New iBooks Service with Variety of New Options

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

There was plenty of big news today as far as Apple (News - Alert) went, with the company announcing a live event to talk about new releases coming out in hardware and software. One of the biggest bits of news to emerge showed before the conference even started, as Apple debuted a new version of iBooks that brings a lot of new options for those who enjoy the service.

One of the biggest new features in iBooks came in the way that users interact with books. The need to flick the touchscreen to flip pages is a thing of the past, as Apple added in a feature that allows for continuous scrolling, much in the same way a Web browser does the job.

On a more cosmetic level, iBooks now allows for several “filters” thrown in to change the look of the pages, adding a bit of yellowing to old books and the like for a more “authentic” experience, or allowing for unusual but improved visibility choices like white text on a black page.

It's not just the interaction with the books that's on the block for changes at iBooks; the program is also stepping up its social interaction capability, with better iCloud support as well as further social tools like Facebook and Twitter (News - Alert) support.

With 1.5 million books in the iBooks store, and users downloading a total of 400 million books since iBooks' launch, it's clear there's a lot at stake here.

Apple's got plenty of competition in the e-book space, especially from names like Barnes & Noble and Amazon, who also have their own tablet platforms specifically geared to their infrastructure. While there aren't too many books that’ll back up one platform over another, the experience is different across the three platforms. If Apple can provide a better experience for users, it's going to help lean people away from the Amazon or Barnes & Noble platforms and toward the Apple platform, giving them more of an edge in a market in which they find themselves in a bit of a fight.

Whether this new experience will give Apple the traction it needs to succeed remains to be seen. But it's clear that Apple's not resting on its laurels, retooling itself in a bid to give users the best experiences.

This is likely to give the company a lot of help in the field, and may well get it to the dominant position.

Edited by Braden Becker
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