Some important Apple products missing in rumors leading up to iPhone event
The last minute scuttlebutt surrounding the Apple iPhone event next Tuesday is, to put it mildly, less than exciting. Pretty much everyone is in agreement that Apple will roll out a cheap plastic phone, and an improved model of its flagship mobile phone. Few ooh and ah over plastic cellphones anymore.
Most also agree that iOS 7 will be released soon – either on the 10th or shortly thereafter. The big questions appear to be whether Apple CEO Tim Cook will introduce new iPad models or save that for a later event, and whether the latest version of the Mac OS will be released immediately (the latest rumor says “no” it will arrive in late October).
But there are more products of interest to publishers than just iPhones and iPads. Macs get major updates in early summer, but the new Mac Pro could be released in conjunction with the iPhone event, for instance.
Then there is iBooks Author. Because of its ease of use, iBooks Author is becoming an increasingly important publishing tool. But Apple has been treating the software package a bit like it does the Apple TV or its Mac mini. Users may be loyal to it, but Apple almost never talks about it.
The release of OS X Mavericks, either soon or in October, will bring with it iBooks for the Mac. The big question is whether it will also bring iBooks for the iPhone. Macworld noted that Apple changed the language on iBooks made with iBooks Author to read ““To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 3.0 or later and iOS 5.1 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.”
It previously had read “iPad” and rumormongers were quick to jump to the conclusion that Apple would be extending the reach of iBooks Author produced eBooks to the iPhone. But that language has returned back to its original requirement that the reader would need an iPad.
In fact, I’ve heard nothing that convinces me that Apple is bringing iBooks Author compatibility to the iPhone. Consumers and publishers may want it, but this would involve a major revision of the program – but we can all hope, I suppose.
Like many other products, Apple sees iBooks Author very differently than the actual market. To Apple, iBooks Author is a way to promote interactive textbooks which will lead to more iPad sales. Apple is right to think that few will want to read interactive textbooks on their mobile phone.
But publishers and authors see iBooks Author as an easy way to publish interesting eBooks. Their complaint is that the resulting book can only be read on an iPad. Few are surprised that Apple is not interested in extending the software solution to converting iBooks into Kindle Editions, but that Apple wouldn’t want the resulting eBooks to be read on its own devices – Macs and iPhones – always confused users. Now Apple says it will bring iBooks to the Mac, but it has been silent about the iPhone. (Amazon certainly hopes Apple keeps things as they are. I never use my iBooks app on my iPhone, only my Kindle reading app.)
Another product that appears to be missing in most of the rumors is the Apple TV. AppleInsider is reporting that there is some evidence that a refresh may be coming, but I find the evidence a bit thin. Certainly if a refresh occurs it would be so minor as to be almost irrelevant. I would expect that any big change to the Apple TV would merit a separate event. But if Apple merely issues a new model that adds buffer capacity, for instance, that can be done at any time including next week.
I’m not one to make predictions but here we go: look for the iPhone event to be a non-event, with not much new unveiled that we don’t already know about. Apple will then hold a separate event 30 to 40 days after the iPhone event to unveil new iPads, and OS X Mavericks. That is when we can also expect iBooks Author 3 which will be needed to make the iBooks built using it compatible for the Mac. (iBooks Author 2 was released in October of last year.)
Frankly, I hope I’m wrong. I have eBook projects I’m working on right now that could be effected by any upgrades Apple makes to iBooks Author. But the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that what we are seeing – nothing – is what we’ll get. Prove me wrong Apple!