The iOS app that's sorely missing from Mountain Lion: iBooks

The iOS app that's sorely missing from Mountain Lion: iBooks

Summary: Anything's possible, of course, but there's cause for concern for anyone waiting for a version of iBooks for OS X.


Last week Apple released a preview of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion to developers, announcing that a public release would follow in late summer.

Mountain Lion comes with all kids of goodies -- Messages, Reminders, Notes, Notification Center, Game Center -- but you've already seen them, in iOS 5.

The one iOS app that's sorely missing from Mountain Lion, however, is iBooks.

Developer Preview 1 didn't include an OS X version Apple's venerable eBook reader and I'm increasingly afraid that it might never release iBooks for the desktop.

Anything's possible, and granted, it's only the first developer preview of OS X 10.8, but there's cause for concern for anyone waiting for a version of iBooks for OS X.

As I noted here on September 19, 2011 ("Kindle over iBooks? It comes down to the desktop") if I’m paying for a book (or a piece of reference), I want to be able to access it from any machine that I’m using. And, call me old fashioned, but I'm in front of my MacBook Air much more than I'm in front of my iPad.

But it's not just my preference of the MacBook Air, it's the principle of it. If I'm purchasing an ebook I want it available on all of my platforms -- and I don't want to pay for an ebook that's artificially restricted from my Mac. Make no mistake, there's no technical reason that iBooks can't run on OS X.


That's right, Apple is artificially limiting iBooks to iOS in order to squeeze every last cent out of consumers. iBooks sells a lot of iPads, and if it were available on OS X it might cannibalize sales of the iPad -- a risk that Apple's not willing to take.

I know that there are a whole generation of keyboard cutters out there, but I’m not one of them. My iPad will never fully replace my MacBook Air with it’s glorious keyboard, USB ports and external mouse. At least not in the foreseeable future.

As I blogged last month, iBooks may never come to Mac OS.

It’s simple economics. Apple makes its money from selling hardware (iPhones, iPads and Macs) and it sells software (apps, music, movies) as a way to move hardware. Apple’s answer MacBook Air users who want iBooks, of course, is to buy an iPad!


Topics: Operating Systems, Apple

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  • RE: The iOS app that's sorely missing from Mountain Lion: iBooks

    Good points, well written. It annoys me, too, that iBooks is not available on my iMac!
  • Ridiculous!

    The Mac has far higher margins than the iPad. Apple would be happy to cannibalize the iPad with the more profitable Macintosh. It's clear to me that Apple has something more up their collective sleeves with regard to ebooks.
  • RE: The iOS app that's sorely missing from Mountain Lion: iBooks

    I totally agree, Jason! I want my books on all my devices too!<br><br>I see Amazon and B&N being much smarter on this than Apple. Amazon's Kindle app and B&N Nook app are available on almost all my OSes: iOS, Windows, Mac. And they also have Android apps as well. <br><br>I wish they also had a Linux version, but they definitely are really trying to be available to as many OSes as possible.<br><br>I can sync my books across all my devices/Windows/Mac computers with the Kindle and Nook apps (except where publishers are buttheads and limit the number and type of devices they are available on). I am an avid reader! I can read the same book across devices/computers, or read different books on different devices/computers. Amazon and B&N are really making it worth my purchasing a book from them by trying to have my purchase be more valuable and assessable to me.<br><br>So far, I rarely buy any books from iBooks because of the limited way in which I can use iBooks. I have a single iOS device, my iPod Touch. And to tell you the truth, iBooks is a slug on my iPod Touch. Works great on the iPad and sure it works much better on 4th Gen iPod Touch too. But, if I could read my iBooks on the Mac, and Windows and maybe even Android devices, maybe it would be worth spending my time and money on buying from Apple's iBooks.<br><br>I see this as a major failure on Apple's part. If they wish to compete with Amazon and B&N in the book reading dept., they need to do much better. And they can start by at least adding iBooks to the App Store NOW for Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion. That would be an excellent start. But they shouldn't stop there either.<br><br>Customers first.
  • RE: The iOS app that's sorely missing from Mountain Lion: iBooks

    Apparently, Apple is planning a major update to the iTunes store for the release of Mountain Lion. I believe that iBooks on OS X will be part of that update.

    For years now, I've read many Mac users calling for iTunes to be broken apart, but Apple have had their hands tied by iOS devices being dependent on iTunes as a single hub to sync with. With iCloud, iOS devices are finally able to cope on their own.

    Assuming that Apple plans for OS X to mirror iOS (looks a lot like they do), I expect iTunes will get reduced to just the store, with two other apps called Music and Videos playing all the media (perhaps Quicktime will go?.) And the update to that store will take iBooks off. This would pave the way for iBooks to appear on OS X with it's own store.

    For people with legacy iOS devices, I guess an extra app just for syncing could be offered as a free download?

    Aside from all that, I'm really hoping for YouTube, Maps, and similar iOS-style updates for iPhoto and Photo Booth.

    And in future updates, maybe they can get to work on reducing the need for system-level file management (apps with their own libraries and trash as a standard) and get Launchpad and the Dock unified as one interface?
    • I've thought the same thing ...

      @votshtoy iTunes is one of those parts of Apple's business that wasn't really planned. Avie Tevanian discussed that in a CNBC interview about Apple's tremendous growth: Apple just saw iTunes as a way to sync music between Macs and iPods. The store was unplanned, but seemed to fit into iTunes neatly. Then they started selling videos -- which, in case you haven't noticed, are not "tunes", so conflict with the app name. And now that iTunes is no longer the hub through which iOS devices sync, and since Apple obviously handles music and videos more logically on iOS devices, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Apple revise the store and player apps to make more sense across devices.

      From where I sit, Apple's plan seems to be ensuring a consistent, compatible experience between iOS and OSX devices, but with different interfaces where and how that makes sense. And we know Apple likes simple, elegant solutions that require little -- if any -- training to understand. Splitting up iTunes into a few obvious-in-purpose apps just makes sense, when looked at that way. (Not sure they'd change the name right away, if ever, given the brand recognition that it has ... but it's one of those pesky little details that has bugged me since they started putting videos and tv shows into iTMS.) For my money, it would make more sense for Apple to keep iTunes as part of the Music app, then have the Videos app have access to the videos portion of iTMS, just like iBooks has access to the iBooks Store and Newstand gives access to magazine-ish publications. Three simple, obvious apps built around what you want to do: want music, use the Music app; want videos, use Videos; want books, use iBooks.
    • I hope the update will include iBooks for OS X too

      I have Kindle but it annoys me that I can't also have iBooks. I don't have either an iPhone or an iPad but I want to publish with both Amazon and Apple and at least Amazon allow me to see what my book will look like without my having to have a Kindle.
      Laraine Anne Barker
  • RE: The iOS app that's sorely missing from Mountain Lion: iBooks

    It is still my hope to see iBooks on OSX. I'm not going to spend money on a major reference work (iBook2 or not) if its not usable on my iMac where I spend most of my time.

    @votshtoy just wondering what advantage there would be to apps having their own libraries and trash? Wouldn't that set OS up for lots of duplication?
    • RE: The iOS app that's sorely missing from Mountain Lion: iBooks

      @house63 The Finder is a generic tool, comparable maybe to the Terminal in that respect. It's purpose is to be able to find everything, but it's not the best way to find anything. Not if there's a more focused alternative.

      The main app I'm thinking about here is Preview. With it's own library, Preview would only need to be good at finding PDFs and image files. It could let you quickly find a PDF by author for example, which is technically possible in Finder, but much slower. Images could be searched by colour and maybe organised by subject, where there can be free overlap not possible with fixed folders. Any other apps that can query the Preview library would also be making use of that improved organisation.

      At that point, just about every generic file type in OS X would be taken care of. The only question left is that of content-creation apps. For that, Expos?? could maybe include a 'Show All' button in the area where it shows the last five documents opened. Once there, iOS-style folders could be available to reduce clutter. There's no reason I see that this interface can't also include a Trash somewhere in the corner.

      That would then allow a massive restructuring of the Dock and Launchpad. I'd lose the Dock entirely and add a new iOS-style dock (maximum of eight icons, fixed size, no magnify, no Trash, no Stacks, Finder icon is movable) to Launchpad. Best of all, that dock would take icons from the home screens, not repeat them. With the old Dock gone, the bottom edge of the screen is free to use for autohiding, a much quicker gesture than the current four-finger pinch. That Launchpad would need to gain the right-click menus and App Expos?? found in the current Dock.

      Mission control could also be made more capable with the Dock gone. At the moment, the Dock handles minimised windows. If they were handled by Mission Control, they could take advantage of the same grouping and drag/drop features as windows appearing on the desktops.

      This is just my own wish list really, but I think those changes would make for a much simpler OS. I don't really understand what you mean by duplication though?
  • RE: The iOS app that's sorely missing from Mountain Lion: iBooks

    It's been around for quite a few years as a "pay for" app.
    It called Delicious Library 2. Odd thing, I always thought apple had copied
    the interface and look from them. iBooks has some of the same features as
  • Re: The iOS app that's missing from Mountain Lion: iBooks

    After I got my iOS update I saw that "new" app called iBooks. I looked into it. I flat turned it down and have not run that app at all. Why? For me, it's simple economics. Not only could it not get a couple of books that are in my Kindle reader which were already there, there's NO free reading content from iBooks. EVERYTHING in the iBookstore had a price onnit. What's worse, the prices were higher than what's available for my Kindle (on my iPhone and Windows machine).
    I'm not the only one who's day-to-day economics forbid such expenditures.
    Crashin Chris
  • Apple Losing Out on Mac Sales

    I heartily agree with this article and would like to add - have Apple considered how this might be affecting their Mac sales? I have iBooks on my iPad, and I have a PC, but before switching to Mac I looked to see if there is an iBooks application for the Mac which would sync with my iPad.

    Apparently not, so for the meantime I shall continue with my PC using the Kindle app, and Zinio for my magazines.