updated 04:40 pm EDT, Fri June 18, 2010
Ray Kurzweil touts Blio over iBooks
Futurist and Blio founder Ray Kurzweil today criticized Apple for doing nothing to help e-books with the iPad. He insists that most e-reader devices and apps, including Apple's, "destroy" any complex formatting and discourages complex text layouts, such as for children's books or textbooks. ePub books like those in the iBookstore may scare away publishers and may have forced Apple to play with text to get an acceptable look.
"Apple showed one jerry-rigged Winnie-the-Pooh book on TV, which they had to craft by hand," Kurzweil accused in an interview with the NYT.
Blio is designed specifically to avoid most of the issues as, almost like a PDF, it preserves the placement and style of diagrams and other images without losing abilities such as annotation, font adjustment and highlights. The app mostly works on computers but has mobile support and is designed with tablets like the iPad in mind.
The dispute underscores a growing problem with periodicals and other non-book literature on not just the iPad but the Kindle and other readers. Subscription material exists for both but has either been stripped of most of its imagery and secondary material on grayscale e-paper readers or necessarily shunted to a third-party native app on the iPad, raising the costs of producing magazines and anything where design is as important as the text.