We already knew the iPad will ship without the iBooks app, which will be downloadable (free) from the App Store, but on Friday, on the first day consumers could pre-order an iPad, Apple rolled out an iBooks page with more details on the upcoming e-books, as well as on the device.
The iPad-centric day earlier brought news about the way 3G service will be managed on the iPad. Some of the new tidbits of information about iBooks:
While iBooks sold at the iBooks Store will naturally have DRM (copy protection), since the iBook format is the ePub open book format, users will be able to sync free ePub titles to the iPad using iTunes.
Similar to the Kindle, the iBooks app will remember where you left off when you finish reading. You can then start at that “bookmark” when you re-enter the app. Additionally, if you touch and hold on a word you can look it up in the built-in dictionary, on Wikipedia, or search for it in the book or on the Web.
Also similar to the Kindle, the iPad can read a book to you. Of course, that feature on the Kindle became an issue, with publishers saying it cut them out of audiobook revenues, despite the fact that experts (and just about anyone who heard the feature) said there was no way it was a threat to audiobooks. Expect the same limitation that Amazon.com settled upon: publishers decide on a title-by-title basis whether that feature is available. Among these are that it remembers where you left off reading and if you touch and hold a word the iPad will look up the meaning for you.
Unlike the iPhone and iPod touch, the iPad has a physical screen rotation lock. Anyone who’s ever tried to read on one of those other devices will tell you it’s a pain if you’re lying down, as the accelerometer flips it from portrait to landscape frequently. With the iPad, Apple placed a screen rotation lock switch on the right-hand side of the iPad, above the volume controls.
For those with issues with hearing in one ear, Apple states on its Accessibility web page that you can route both channels of audio to just one earphone, if necessary.
According to the specs, the iPad supports AVI videos in MotionJPEG format, with data rates of up to 35Mbps, resolutions up to 1280 x 720, with PCM stereo audio. To this point, iTunes has never supported AVI files.
Have you pre-ordered an iPad? According to some very, very rough guesstimates, some are saying that the rate of pre-ordering has reached 20K an hour.