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Posts tagged with "books"

Apple Is Building a Media Platform Like Never Before

Have you ever watched the construction of a new building while knowing nothing about what the finished product would be? You track its progress a piece at a time, clueless about the end goal until finally there comes a point when, in a single moment, suddenly it all makes sense.

Apple’s media ambitions have been like that for me.

In recent years, Apple has taken a variety of actions in the media space that seemed mostly disconnected, but over time they’ve added up to something that can’t be ignored.

  • 2015: Apple Music and Apple News launched.
  • 2016: Apple Music redesigned; TV app debuted.
  • 2017: App Store revamped with dedicated games section; Apple Podcasts redesigned; TV app adds sports and news.
  • 2018: Apple acquires Texture; iBooks redesigned and rebranded Apple Books.
  • 2019: Apple’s video streaming service launches?

Apple already has control of the hardware that media is consumed on, with its ever-expanding iPhone business and suite of complementary products. It has invested significant effort into building the apps media is consumed in, as evidenced above. And finally, it’s also building the paid services media is consumed through.

And the company is doing these things at a scale that is unprecedented. Once not long ago, Apple’s primary media platform was iTunes. Now, hundreds of millions of users consume media every day through Apple’s suite of spiritual successors to iTunes:

  • Apple Music
  • Apple TV (the app)
  • Apple Podcasts
  • Apple Books
  • Apple News
  • And the App Store

Apple has one unified goal, I believe, driving all its media efforts: it aspires to utilize hardware, software, and services to provide the entirety of a user’s media experience. If you consume media, Apple wants to provide the full stack of that consumption, from media delivery to media discovery. My aim in this story is to share an overview of how that goal is being fulfilled today.

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How Aqua and Bondi Saved Apple

Stephen Hackett of 512 Pixels has published a book called Aqua and Bondi: The Road to OS X & The Computer That Saved Apple, a history of the critical role OS X and the iMac G3 played in Apple’s comeback from the brink of financial ruin in the late 90s. As Hackett explains in the introduction to the book,

OS X and the iMac’s stories are intertwined, but are often told separately. Apple’s strength is most obvious when its hardware and software are working in harmony, and that’s what was needed to save Apple in the late 1990s. Turns out, it worked.

Aqua and Bondi shares that story for those who haven’t read it before. It’s a consideration of Apple at a very interesting time in its life and the products it shipped.

I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of Aqua and Bondi and love it. Not only is the story of OS X and the iMac G3 told in a compelling and accessible way, but the book is full of fantastic photos drawn from numerous sources, including Hackett’s own collection of colorful iMacs.

Aqua and Bondi is available from the iBookstore and as a PDF from for $3.99.

Make Money Outside the Mac App Store

Developer Christian Tietze has published an excellent book titled Make Money Outside the Mac App Store. It focuses on the FastSpring payment and storefront service. If you’re a developer looking at using FastSpring to avoid the hassles and 30% cut of selling through the MAS (or are already using FastSpring and want to implement more advanced features), this is a great guide covering implementation, piracy protection, and more.


MacStories Interviews: Ryan Rigney

MacStories Interviews was a series of interviews with well-known developers, bloggers, journalists and geeks that we published late last year. We’ve revived the format to interview Ryan Rigney, author of  Buttonless, a new book about iOS games that is launching on December 13th. We’ll have a full review of the book when it is released, but in the meantime we thought it would be interesting to hear more from the author himself.

MacStories: Hey Ryan! Could you introduce yourself to the readers who haven’t heard about you or haven’t read any of your work before?

Sure! I’m a freelance writer who has written for a number of gaming outlets, most notably GamePro, PC Gamer, and Gamasutra. I’ve mostly written about iOS gaming, but I’m also a big console gamer so I’ve done a good bit of writing about those types of games as well. Just this week GamePro published my review of Minecraft!

MacStories: So tell us a bit more about your new book, Buttonless. What made you decide you wanted to write this book?

Over the past few years I’ve been so focused on iOS and written so much about iOS games that it’s become something of an obsession. I’ve reviewed hundreds of iPhone and iPad games, interviewed scores of developers, and purchased far too many apps. I pretty much came to the realization that I possessed enough experience and knowledge to write a book, and then began brainstorming ideas. It took a while for me to figure out that I wanted to put so much of the focus on “the stories behind the games,” though.

MacStories: Did you find it difficult finding a publisher willing to help you write this book given it is such a new industry that may appear very “niche”?

Actually, A K Peters/CRC Press was the first publisher I approached. In my pitch, I shared with them a bunch of numbers that I had stumbled across––how many hundreds of millions of iOS devices are out there, and how many people are buying these games. The truth is, it’s really not a niche. iOS gaming is now the most popular form of portable gaming, and it’s only getting bigger. Maybe if I had tried to write a book about 3DS games, the publisher would have needed more convincing haha!

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Steve Jobs Biography Gets A Classic Cover

There are many pictures of Steve Jobs, and perhaps one of the most iconic is the scraggly bearded CEO posing for the camera, hand up to his chin as he imagines Apple’s next greatest device (at least I like to think that). The image will also be making an appearence on the cover of Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs (previously: The Book of Jobs), can be seen on the Barnes & Noble storefront with a publication date set for November 21st. You can currently preorder the hardcover for $20.40 (list price is $32.50), with B&N’s digital eBook availalbe for $14.99.

[via AllThingsD]

Facebook Acquires Award-winning iOS Publishing Platform Push Pop Press

It was only last February that Push Pop Press started teasing a brand new kind of digital books for the iPhone and iPad, promising to revolutionize the way users interact with text, images, and video on a multi-touch screen. Started by former Apple employees, Push Pop Press built a unique publishing platform and physics engine that was best demonstrated in Our Choice, Al Gore’s book ported over to Push Pop Press’ platform, released on the iPhone and iPad and winner of an Apple Design Award in June.

With an update on their website, Push Pop Press has announced that they’ve been acquired by Facebook. It’s unclear how the technology will be integrated into the “world’s largest book”, but the blog post says “although Facebook isn’t planning to start publishing digital books, the ideas and technology behind Push Pop Press will be integrated with Facebook, giving people even richer ways to share their stories”. Push Pop Press’ first book Our Choice will remain available for sale with profits donated to The Climate Reality Project; future books planned with Push Pop Press’ closed beta won’t be published following this acquisition.

Now we’re taking our publishing technology and everything we’ve learned and are setting off to help design the world’s largest book, Facebook.

TechCrunch also reports a statement from Facebook:

We’re thrilled to confirm that we’ve acquired Push Pop Press, a startup whose groundbreaking software changes the way people publish and consume digital content. We can’t wait for co-founders Mike Matas and Kimon Tsinteris to get started, and for some of the technology, ideas and inspiration behind Push Pop Press to become part of how millions of people connect and share with each other on Facebook.

You can read our original review of Push Pop Press’ Our Choice here. Whilst Facebook apparently has no plans to enter the publishing market, Push Pop Press’ interaction methods and innovative engine might be a good fit for Facebook’s iPhone and upcoming iPad app.

Safari Books Online Releases New “Safari To Go” iPad App

Safari Books Online is a very popular service that, through a monthly or annual subscription model, allows you to access a vast catalog of design, development and business-related books and video trainings. Depending on your account, Safari Books Online lets you browse through a library of over 13,000 resources, and thanks to release of a brand new app today, this will also be possible directly from an iPad.

Safari To Go, available for free in the App Store, is a complete 2.0 rewrite of SBO’s previous App Store offering that provides a native interface for the iPad that follows Apple’s interface and usability guidelines, yet still enables you to enjoy the library of Safari Books Online, which includes ebooks from publishers like FT Press and O’Reilly. Safari To Go brings the functionalities you’d expect from a native iPad app: page swiping, offline reading mode and in-book keyword search. You can view your recently read books in a different view, mark items as favorites and create bookmarks. Additionally, you can watch videos in-app and perform a search by topic to find exactly what you’re looking for. Ken Yarmosh, one of the developers of Safari To Go 2.0, explains some of the technical decisions behind the app, such as why 3G connection only allows you to read an offline book:

As an example, notes and tags are not initially available in the application. Similarly, we found the performance on 3G to be sub-optimal due to the amount of content that transmits over the air. So, it was collectively decided that only an offline book should be accessible when on 3G for the first release of the v2.0 version.

Because of how we’ve built the app, we’re now in position to more quickly iterate on these and other features. In fact, we’re just now testing an update internally, which should be pushed to the App Store shortly. The Safari Books Online team also has a roadmap for upcoming releases with the expectation to update it and re-prioritize features based on customer feedback.

The free Safari to Go iPad app is available now in the App Store. You can sign up for a 10-day free trial on Safari Books Online here.

Our Choice, Proving Push Pop Press Will Revolutionize Digital Publishing

When Co-Founders Mike Matas and Kimon Tsinteris set out to change the world of digital publishing, not many would have guessed that Al Gore would be at the forefront of their first title until Our Choice was demoed as a TED Talk, where the workings and interactions of the first title built using the new platform were revealed. Today, Our Choice is available at an introductory $4.99 on the App Store for the iPhone and the iPad, delivering rich interactive content via a completely custom app built on a native backbone. The Push Pop Press platform is seeking to revolutionize how content is published and made interactive, and my initial impressions with Our Choice can validate that cause. What’s at stake isn’t just the future of the new digital platform, but a complete rethinking of the traditional digital magazine or newspaper. The App Store is flooded with projects traditionally based on Adobe technologies, and while it was a good first attempt, the content we view needs to be intuitive, interactive, but most importantly fluid and un-static. Push Pop Press is the ideal platform to revolutionize how we think of traditional media, and Our Choice is the launch title proving that this new vision for content is a clear winner.

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iBooks Can Now Open EPUB Files Directly

iBooks Can Now Open EPUB Files Directly

Adam Engst at TidBITS details an important change in how iBooks handles .EPUB files opened directly on iOS:

The practical upshot of this fix is that you can now transfer EPUB files into iBooks far more easily than before, when the only way was to drop them into iTunes and do a USB sync. For individual users, that means you can send yourself an EPUB via email and transfer the attachment to iBooks, and you can also copy EPUB files into Dropbox and use the iOS Dropbox app to send them to iBooks.

Basically, forwarding books bought / downloaded in Mobile Safari to iBooks got a lot easier thanks to the “Open In…” menu. Project Gutenberg books work great with this method.