Additional note. Microsoft has chosen not to make the alterations needed to its Mac versions of Word, Works or Office for them to work with the iPad. However iLife and iWorks, the complete suits that do the same thing on an Apple platform will save as any Microsoft word, works or office document style, the pad will e-mail in any format and all work with pdf saved formats. Not all on-line graphics or video will work with the iPad, a decision made to lower the cost and weight of the iPad (save on extra usually needed for processing costs).
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Apple’s iPad Will Read Books Out Loud, Support Free E-Books
It turns out the iPad will read books out loud to you with audio dictation, a controversial feature that caused some trouble for Amazon’s Kindle last year. Also, Apple indicated that you’ll be able to use the iPad to read EPUB titles from sources outside of the iBooks store.
The new features are described in the iBooks overview page on Apple’s website. In the section titled “Change your reading habits,” Apple says its VoiceOver functionality — an accessibility tool that works in other parts of the iPad’s interface to help visually impaired users — will also work to dictate e-books.
“IBooks works with VoiceOver, the screen reader in iPad, so it can read you the contents of any page,” Apple’s description reads.
And for EPUB titles that are not offered through the iBooks store, you can manually add them to iTunes and then sync them to the iPad:
“The iBooks app uses the EPUB format — the most popular open book format in the world,” Apple’s site reads. “That makes it easy for publishers to create iBooks versions of your favorite reads. And you can add free EPUB titles to iTunes and sync them to the iBooks app on your iPad.
That’s good news for iPad customers, because that means bookworms won’t be limited to the offerings in the iBooks store, which are based on partnerships that Apple inked with publishers.
The new detail about audio dictation should raise more questions. Amazon’s Kindle 2 reader shipped with a function to read e-books out loud, and the Authors Guild made a fuss alleging copyright violations that would cut into sales of audiobooks.
“They don’t have the right to read a book out loud,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “That’s an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law.”
The guild contended that authors should be awarded audio-licensing fees for e-books. Responding to the criticism, Amazon said “no copy is made, no derivative work is created and no performance is being given.” Nonetheless, Amazon in late February 2009 gave rights-owners the choice to enable or disable the audio function title by title.
There’s no word on whether the Author’s Guild will pursue a similar complaint against Apple.
The National Federation of the Blind has already applauded Apple for including VoiceOver in the iPad.
iBooks description [Apple]
Photo: Jon Snyder/Wired.com
Additional reporting by Charlie Sorrel