Exclusivus iBookus! Apple magics up special edition Harry Potter books

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Should we call him Harr iPotter now?
Photo: Warner Bros.

Apple today announced the launch of special “Enhanced Editions” of all seven Harry Potter books, exclusively on iBooks.

Featuring interactive animations, elaborate artwork, custom covers, exclusive annotations by J.K. Rowling, and, of course, the original text, the books can be downloaded individually for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

iTunes and Apple Music go live in China

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Tim Cook meets with Apple Store employees in China.
Tim Cook meets with Apple Store employees in China.
Photo: Apple

Apple today launched Apple Music, iTunes Movies and iBooks in China.

As with the U.S., Chinese customers are being treated to a three-month free trial for Apple Music. After this, the subscription service will cost a very reasonable 10 yuan ($1.57) per month — just one-sixth of what customers in the U.S. pay for the service.

iOS 9’s Split View for iPad is everything you hoped it would be

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Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

 

When iOS 9 rolls out to the public this fall, it’ll be iPad users that appreciate it most, thanks to the many improvements Apple has made to multitasking. One of the biggest is Split View, a feature that’s exclusive to the iPad Air 2, which lets you run two apps side-by-side — just like you would on your Mac.

Split View lets you read articles in Safari while composing an email in Mail, enjoy a novel in iBooks while taking notes in the Notes app, and talk to friends via iMessage while organizing your schedule in Calendar.

But is Split View as game-changing as it looks at first glance? You bet it is.

Apple celebrates the National Book Awards with huge iBooks sale

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Photo: Cult of Mac

Last night, Ursula K. Leguin, the author of seminal fantasy and science-fiction books like The Left Hand of Darkess and the Earthsea series, won a National Book Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

During her speech, she made an impassioned defense of fantasy books, saying we needed such literature because “hard times are coming” when novels that can transport the mind will have actual social value.

It sounds like Apple might have been listening, because they are currently promoting the winners of the National Book Award, past and present, on the iBooks Store.

How to save money and time with iOS 8’s Family Sharing feature

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Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for iOS now available on iPad

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There’s a reason the majority of apps in the App Store look like they fit together, and that reason is Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines, a document that ensures all developers incorporate Apple-approved elements into everything they do on the iOS platform.

To make these guidelines transparent and readable, Apple has released an iPad-friendly version of its latest iOS Human Interface Guidelines reference material. Available to the public as a free download through the iBookstore, the guide covers everything from general design practices to rules about content, and features the usual iBooks flourishes such as page numbers, resizable fonts and annotation support. It also incorporates embedded videos to illustrate certain topics.

Turn Your iBooks Into Audiobooks (Of A Sort) [iOS Tips]

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iBook Audiobook

I personally can’t stand audiobooks except under one specific condition. I like them when I drive long distances. There’s something about listening to a book being read to me that puts me to sleep if I’m anywhere else, but for some reason, I’m able to listen in the car.

Now, I purchase a lot of iBooks, but not many audiobooks. One reason is that they’re more expensive, but I mainly avoid them for the reasons above. However, when I next take a cross-country trip in a car, I’m going to use this tip to turn the written iBooks into ones I can listen to off of my iPhone or iPad.

And The Winner Is… Best eBook Reading App

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Next time you are traveling somewhere or commuting your way to work, look around you. It’s evident that the number of book lovers who have taken to reading on a digital format has risen significantly over the years. In 2011 and 2012, Amazon said it sold 105 books for its Kindle e-reader for every 100 hardcover and paperback books, excluding free eBooks.

Though it has become apparent in recent years that there is a slight fall in the growth of eBook sales (particularly so in 2013), eBooks are still far too compelling to die out, and today we tend to use more than one medium to consume the same thing. So next time you’re hesitating to pull out your Kindle or iPad mini on the bus or train due to the watchful eyes of a “book snob,” just remember that it’s not possible to please everyone, and that there are still thousands of benefits to the electronic book format.

Apple Brings iBooks Textbooks & iTunes U To New Markets

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Apple has today announced that iBooks Textbooks and iTunes U Course Manager are expanding into new markets across Asia, Latin America, Europe, and other countries around the world. The expansions brings the total number of countries supported by iBooks Textbooks up to 51, while iTunes U Course Manager is now available in 70, including Russia, Thailand and Malaysia.