Apple's new iBooks sure looks like Classics iPhone app
When Apple unveiled their new iBooks application during the launch of the much-anticipated and unfortunately named iPad tablet computer, many people noticed its similarity to the well-known Classics iPhone app. Classics [iTunes link], if you're not familiar with it, is an iPhone app that gives you access to read over a dozen public-domain books.
There are lots of ebook readers available for the iPhone, but where Classics sets itself apart is with an exquisite user interface that mimics the feeling of going to a bookshelf, getting a hardcover book, and paging through it. It's likely that the bookshelf metaphor in Classics was inspired by Delicious Library, a Mac app for cataloging books, media, and anything else you want to catalog.
But aside from the bookshelf, Classics presents the books on a slightly yellowed, paper-like background, and animates page turns with a satisfying swipe of the finger, and an audible riffling of paper.
Sounds pretty great, right?
Well, it appears Apple thought so too, since the description I just gave also perfectly describes Apple's new iBooks app for the iPad.
The fact that Apple did not -- at the very least -- acknowledge Classics in some small way is unfortunate.
The message they are sending independent developers is "Please write software for the App Store, but if we like what you do we're going to take it." This is yet another reason for developers to be wary of Apple's overly locked-down App Store.
Classics' developers Andrew Kaz and Phill Ryu have reduced the app's price to free in response to iBooks, reasoning that they would like as many people to see it as possible so they are aware that iBooks copied Classics, not the other way around.