Yesterday marked the launch of Apple’s iPad Mini and an updated version of their iBooks software- iBooks 3.0. This is exciting news for the eBook industry as it’s not only Apple’s first venture into the 7-inch tablet market, competing against the likes of the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7, but it also shows that Apple are looking to become market leaders when it comes to eReaders.

Firstly, lets take a look at the iPad Mini.

Features:

  • 7.9-inch display- 35% larger than the likes of Google’s Nexus 7.
  • 7.2mm thin- 23% thinner than the regular iPad.
  • 308g weight- 53% lighter than the regular iPad.
  • Small enough to hold in one hand, and even fit into handbags and jacket pockets – something appealing to the those used to the size of the Kindle.

But, all of this doesn’t mean that it is a scaled down version of the iPad. It still has the capability to run the usual iPad apps, record videos in 1080p HD and has ultra-fast wifi connectivity likes it’s older siblings. It also uses the new lighting connector, as launched on the iPhone 5.

Price:

Starting from £269 for the 16GB wifi model, and £369 for the 16GB wifi + cellular model, this is still quite expensive if you’re looking to use the tablet as an eReader. Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD (released at the end of this week) sells for just £159 for it’s 16GB wifi version, with the Nexus 7 being £199. Therefore, the iPad Mini is a premium product which is perhaps not suitable for someone just wanting to read books on it, but is still a serious contender for those of you looking for a handy 7-inch tablet to fit in your bag.

Now, onto Apple’s iBooks software. Yesterday, the latest version- iBooks 3.0- became available to download for free through the App store. It boasts a set of new features, but the most notable update is the new way in which readers navigate their books. You can now scroll endlessly up and down through texts with a flick of a finger as opposed to the previous page turn method, which is also used on eReaders such as  Kindle and Kobo. This makes it easier to navigate through books if you’re looking for something specific, rather than having to wait for pages to load and turn through animations.

Other updates include:

  • Better iCloud integration- allowing users to see all previously purchased iBooks across their Apple devices.
  • Updates to purchased books- users can receive improvements such as new chapters and corrections.
  • Sharing capabilities- users can share favourite parts of books with friends via Facebook, Twitter, Mail and Messages.

These updates to iBooks and the advent of a smaller 7-inch tablet aren’t necessarily revolutionary in the eBook market, but surely pave the way for Apple to become much more serious competitors.

Please visit our previous blog about the differences between the Apple Reader and Amazon Kindle.

 

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