Apple have just released an updated iTunes 9.1 to make ready for iPad syncing and EPUB support for when the users receive their iPad and can access the iBooks store.
We here in Europe can’t even pre-order an iPad yet so I won’t be able to do a full test for some time yet but I thought I’d see what happens when a DRM-Free EPUB file is added to iTunes….which turns out to be not a lot.
As you can see from the screenshot below, the EPUB book does get recognised as a Book with the title and author details being taken from the file’s meta data. One thing that concerns me is with the book Info dialogue and how the book’s meta details are presented as though it is a song; Artist, Composer, Track Number, etc. Let’s hope this gets fixed soon to show an appropriate information page.
I’m using the Swiss Family Robinson here as an example, which doesn’t include a book cover in the file, so this is the default icon you will have for any titles that don’t include covers–this will be most free public domain works you will find from around the internet.
Right-click on the book and a pop-up menu shows a “Play” item, though at present this does nothing; one has to presume that once iBooks is released we will be presented with an option to download from the App Store. Whether the iBooks app will be made available to iPhone and iPod Touch users is still speculation but my own guess is that it won’t happen until the iPad has seen its worldwide release–even then I’m sure it won’t be until sometime later.
Update: I’ve now posted a review of the Apple iPad in the eReaders section of the site.