Apple releases iBooks 1.3 with new read-aloud feature for children's books

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Apple on Tuesday released iBooks 1.3, an update for its iOS-based e-reading software, adding a new read-aloud feature that uses a real narrator to read some children's books.



iBooks is a free application for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The free 15.3MB download (iTunes link) is available in the App Store. It requires iOS 3.2 or later.



The full list of what's new in iBooks 1.3, according to Apple, includes:

Help your children learn to read with the new read-aloud feature included in select children's books from the iBookstore.

The read-aloud feature uses a real narrator to read the book to you, and in some books, it will even highlight the words as you read along.

Enhanced books can now automatically play audio or video included with the book.

Makes iBooks more responsive when opening very long books.

Addresses an issue where some books may display the same page twice.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    nice i hope i can buy a non-audio book now for my MBP



    0
  • Reply 2 of 25
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,727member
    Sounds good. The read-along feature, combined with text highlighting could be a great teaching tool.
  • Reply 3 of 25
    yensid98yensid98 Posts: 302member
    Wow, nice features! I won't be using them much at all (if ever), but it's good to see Apple casting as wide a net as possible with the iBookstore. Way to go!
  • Reply 4 of 25
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 452member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by yensid98 View Post


    Wow, nice features! I won't be using them much at all (if ever), but it's good to see Apple casting as wide a net as possible with the iBookstore. Way to go!



    I have not been able to find any e-books cheaper on iBooks than on Amazon (Kindle for iPhone app). This may make it a little more worthwhile but for instance when a Kindle book is $26.39 and the same iBook is $47.99 it is going to have to offer a lot more to make up the difference.
  • Reply 5 of 25
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,727member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bulk001 View Post


    I have not been able to find any e-books cheaper on iBooks than on Amazon (Kindle for iPhone app). This may make it a little more worthwhile but for instance when a Kindle book is $26.39 and the same iBook is $47.99 it is going to have to offer a lot more to make up the difference.



    Yes, if an identical e-book product is available on both platforms, I'll go with the cheaper one.
  • Reply 6 of 25
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple on Tuesday released iBooks 1.3, an update for its iOS-based e-reading software, adding a new read-aloud feature that uses a real narrator to read some children's books.



    So, any idea which books this works with?
  • Reply 7 of 25
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,019member
    I'm guessing this is the same as the Read to Me books in the B&N Nook app? I think Mel Gross had mentioned he used that app on his iPad, so he (or someone else) might know if the read aloud feature only works on Android or on iOS devices too.
  • Reply 8 of 25
    This is a terrific feature addition! Does anyone know what is required to produce read-aloud titles for iBooks? (PS this feature isn't only suitable for children's books) Do I need to buy into the Mac developer program?
  • Reply 9 of 25
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,505member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    I'm guessing this is the same as the Read to Me books in the B&N Nook app? I think Mel Gross had mentioned he used that app on his iPad, so he (or someone else) might know if the read aloud feature only works on Android or on iOS devices too.



    I'll do a check to see if there any API for this in the iOS SDK.



    We, as a family, read together 2-3 times a week -- we each have an iPad and can follow along as each takes a turn reading aloud.



    Sunday, we read "The Shooting of Dan McGrew".



    Instead of taking turns, I found a narration by Jean Shepherd -- he read aloud to us (from the AppleTV) while we followed along on our iPads.



    The Shooting of Dan McGrew



    This was a great experience -- but it made me wonder if it could be improved by somehow synchronizing the audio with the book.



    We often pause during a reading to discuss the meaning, emphasis, etc. It was a little tricky juggling the ATV remote and an iPad.



    In this story, we each took turns trying to say "Dangerous Dan McGrew" as snarky as possible -- kinda' like Jerry Seinfeld saying "Hello, Newman".
  • Reply 10 of 25
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,374member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Yes, if an identical e-book product is available on both platforms, I'll go with the cheaper one.



    Depends. I buy books that are a part of a series. It's too much of a pain to keep track of them if they're spread amongst three book sellers apps. Once I start to buy them from one store, I stay with it, usually for all that author's books.
  • Reply 11 of 25
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,374member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    I'm guessing this is the same as the Read to Me books in the B&N Nook app? I think Mel Gross had mentioned he used that app on his iPad, so he (or someone else) might know if the read aloud feature only works on Android or on iOS devices too.



    My daughter's too old for that nowadays. I haven't looked into it, but if you want, I will. Let me know here.
  • Reply 12 of 25
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,019member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    My daughter's too old for that nowadays. I haven't looked into it, but if you want, I will. Let me know here.



    If you don't mind Mel.



    I checked one on my wife's Nook (something about Elephants) and it looks like a nice feature for the little ones.
  • Reply 13 of 25
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,505member
    For those that aren't aware of it -- there is a wealth of free books out there at:



    Gutenberg.org



    Most of these come in both ePub (iBook) and Kindle format.





    Also, if you run across some text that you want "publish" into iBook format, the Mac Pages app can export in ePub format -- including images, etc.



    My 15-year-old granddaughter "wrote," and had us group read, an iBook to try to sell the family on spending $500 to attend NASCAR this summer at Infineon... Nice effort, but the jury's still out.
  • Reply 14 of 25
    nhtnht Posts: 4,394member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    If you don't mind Mel.



    I checked one on my wife's Nook (something about Elephants) and it looks like a nice feature for the little ones.



    It's the B&N Nook Kids App that has kid books with Read To Me. Careful though...it ONLY seems to work for books that are marked Read To Me and not the ones marked Read and Play which I think work on the NC.
  • Reply 15 of 25
    mrmiaggimrmiaggi Posts: 4member
    Slightly off topic but... Still no iBooks reader for the Mac!

    -No syncing of books or bookmarks/highlighting etc. across your Mac and all other devices... This is pretty frustrating.



    I'm often reading when I'm out (on my iPad) and at other times I want to continue reading the same book on a Mac in the office. And with no syncing on the Mac I have to resort to reading the same book as a pdf. No bookmarks, no save point, no highlighting etc. Very annoying.



    This is so unlike Apple not to have this covered. Kindle has an app for the Mac and with full syncing across devices. Come on Apple wake up! Get it done.



    Am I the only one that has this issue?
  • Reply 16 of 25
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,727member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    For those that aren't aware of it -- there is a wealth of free books out there at:



    Gutenberg.org



    Most of these come in both ePub (iBook) and Kindle format.





    Also, if you run across some text that you want "publish" into iBook format, the Mac Pages app can export in ePub format -- including images, etc.



    My 15-year-old granddaughter "wrote," and had us group read, an iBook to try to sell the family on spending $500 to attend NASCAR this summer at Infineon... Nice effort, but the jury's still out.



    Yes, this is a great resource. I've tucked a few "books" away for future reading from there.
  • Reply 17 of 25
    cycomikocycomiko Posts: 716member
    Nice...



    now maybe Apple can work at getting books on the local iBookstore. A selection of 'out of copyright' books does not cut the mustard. While they are at it, maybe some TV shows in itunes.
  • Reply 18 of 25
    cycomikocycomiko Posts: 716member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrMiaggi View Post


    -No syncing of books or bookmarks/highlighting etc. across your Mac and all other devices...



    ibooks syncs across devices, but not to the mac
  • Reply 19 of 25
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    It's good that they have pro narrators instead of a computer voice.
  • Reply 20 of 25
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cycomiko View Post


    ibooks syncs across devices, but not to the mac



    yes i know. But not to the Mac (because there's no iBooks app for the Mac!) so there's no continuity in reading. Apple does a great job with user-experience but they've dropped the ball on that one.
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