iBooks Fix: Syncing ePub data between Mac and iOS devices

My excitement for iBooks being released on the Mac died when I finally got my hands on it when Mavericks first came out. The fact that it ripped my books out of iTunes and didn’t carryover the metadata that I had added to them, and giving all of the books non descriptive titles within the Finder was my first issue. The second being the fact that I was not able to sync any data (position, bookmarks, notes etc) between the ePubs I currently had on my iOS devices with the Mac version of iBooks.[1] I was confused because this task worked great between my iPhone and my iPad. I spent countless amounts of time opening the book on one device, waiting a minute or two for it to sync, then opening it on my Mac and the book would open to the cover, instead of to the page that it was supposed to be on.

Eventually I gave up trying to get it to work until I was recently using PhoneView to download various items from my iPad one day when it dawned on me that there is a section in PhoneView to access the books that are on the device that you have connected to it.

So I copied an ePub from my iPad I purchased form O’rielly Media about web design to my desktop, that I had been highlighting and taking notes in. My thought process was that this book has some type of data associated with it, and the syncing works between my iPhone and iPad so if I were to use the same file on my Mac then the sync should be fixed. I then wondered what would happen if I put the book in a place that I could get at it from all of my devices. I moved it to my local Dropbox folder waited for it to upload and then I opened the file in iBooks on my Macbook, and sure enough the highlights and my current position synced perfectly. I open the book on my iMac and verified that all of the same data was accessible on that machine.

The next step was to make sure that this worked with other books so I uploaded a couple of ePubs that I didn’t have loaded on any of my devices to Dropbox and loaded them into iBooks on each of my devices, highlighted some sections, took some notes and once again it worked perfectly.

Syncing ePubs with iBooks on all devices:

  • Put the ePub in a central location that you can load it into iBooks from such as Dropbox
  • Do not change the name of the book if you have already loaded the book on one of your devices. The book needs to have the same attributes on all of your devices in order for it to recognize that there is data available for it to be syncing.
  • Load the book into iBooks on all of your devices. For iOS if you are using DropBox you will need to have the Dropbox app installed you can select the book and then hit the share icon, and tap on the Open In… button.
  • Happy Syncing

  1. Even the iCloud reset article that I wrote didn’t fix the sync issues  ↩

iCons!!!!

I wrote in a post on the eve of WWDC, that linked to a supposed mock up of the actual icons used in iOS 7, that hopefully the new icons do not look like the "mockups" that 9to5mac leaked. Prior to that post i had written a piece expressing my concerns about the rumors that I had heard about Apple's move towards a flat windows 8 like design.

Unfortunatley the 9to5mac leak turned out to be true, and I think that it was an actual leak. The author tried to pass it of that they had their graphics department mock the icons up in photoshop. I was hopeful that they had a new graphic designer who hadn't had much experience creating icons, coupled with the fact that this person was creating them based on how they were described to him, or her. However these horrible icons are a reality of the next operating system. I just don't understand how anyone could think that these icons are passable for Apple's standards, but there they are.

The rest of the operating system, for the most part looks amazing; save for the akward translucency in certain places. The OS certainly is not flat. It has a depth to it, and I can't wait to have a copy of it to see how it works in person.

For a comparison of what the icons use to look like and what they will look like in iOS7 I have linked to a picture from an article on mashable.com

iOS icons

I would have prefered that the icons looked like these that appleinsider.com had posted before WWDC.

iOS flat icons

Is iOS 7 Laying the Path Towards a Larger iPhone?

During the WWDC Keynote Monday, Apple pulled the curtain off of their redesign of iOS. I have my thoughts on certain aspects of the design, such as iconography, but will use this post to speculate on some observations I made while watching the iOS 7 demos.

The operating system has seen a radical change, and one of the most prominent aspects of the design is the use of layered sheets for things like Notification Center, Spotlight, Control Center, and the updated Share Sheets. Apple states that "Technology should never get in the way of humanity.", however while watching the videos I noticed that with these new overlays it almost seems that the current iPhone seems a little small for this new design.

My wife who loves to watch the keynotes with me actually said out loud, about the same time I had the thought, "It almost seems that the phone needs to be bigger now." I couldn't agree more; I think that Apple may be setting itself up to introduce another device size into the iOS world. Certainly this isn't the first post to proclaim that, but watching the Keynote and seeing iOS 7 in action I thought it looked like it was designed to be on a device that has more screen real estate to afford to it.

I love the size and weight of the iPhone 5, and have often wondered how cumbersome a wider phone might be. Even though I laugh at the oversized Samsung phones out there; I think I wouldn't mind seeing a bigger iPhone introduced this fall. I don't mind that is, as long as I don't see people walking around with iPad Mini sized devices strapped to the side of their faces talking on them.

What iOS Looks Like (Hopefully Not)

After I posted my thoughts on flat design I checked a couple of my regular sites and saw that 9to5mac.com has a new post up called What iOS 7 looks like. They had someone in their graphics department mock up what the new icons look like. Say it isn't so...Here is an except from the post regarding the icons.

Yes, they are flat. Our in-house Photoshop guru Michael Steeber has mocked up (Above) the icons based on descriptions which closely match what I believe we’ll see tomorrow.

iOS Dictionary App?

dictionary.png

iOS ships with a handful of generic utility apps such as Calculator, Stocks, Weather and Voices Memos to name a few. These are not the only apps that come pre-installed; but they usually fall under scrutiny from a number of posts recommending that you quickly tuck them in a folder, and replace them with any number of apps from the App Store. 

One app that I realized that is not on iOS is a Dictionary app. You can select a word;  click Define and a style sheet displaying the definition appears. However there is not a full blown Dictionary app such as the one that ships with Mac OS X that you can search. Another feature of the OS X dictionary is that it has a built in Thesaurus. 

I know that a dictionary app isn't going to change the world or anything, but it is interesting to me to see what Apple choses to add or not add to iOS. With that said I am trying real hard to not launch into a long drawn out post about the fact that the iPad doesn't ship with the Calculator, or Voice Memos apps.