Apple Releases New iPad Mini Commercial & Neglects to Mention Poor Support for Epub3

Apple posted the following video on Youtube yesterday. As you can see, they show the iPad and iPad Mini opening ebooks, and if you read the titles you'll catch a clever play on words.

Apple is clearly using this commercial to convince you that the iPad Mini has all the same abilities of the iPad, but that isn't exactly true.

The iPad Mini is actually about as powerful as the iPad 2, and when it comes to iBooks that is something of a problem. Neither tablet has the horsepower to adequately display the latest Epub3 features which Apple added in the iBooks 3.0 update.

In particular I found that my iPad 2 could not display the equations found in a demo Epub3 ebook (here). Page turns and general app performance was also laggy while trying to read that ebook on Matrix Algebra, and that limitation was shared by the iPad Mini.

I can understand that most people won't care about the problems surrounding a niche use like textbooks, but this is an issue which is only going to become more important as time goes by.

Apple is likely going to push the iPad Mini into schools, and as more students use them to display iBooks textbooks the issue with MathML will grow to be a serious problem. What's more, I would not be surprised to learn that the MathML issue is only the tip of the iceberg. I would bet dollars to donuts that students will encounter other problems in their enhanced textbooks, and I would also bet that later updates for iBooks only makes the situation worse as Apple adds more support for Epub3.

15 thoughts on “Apple Releases New iPad Mini Commercial & Neglects to Mention Poor Support for Epub3

  1. Apple seems to be doing a lot of ‘splaining latelly, aren’t they?
    From Siri to the Mini they’re spending a lot of time justifying or apolgizing for products that are no lnger seen as “insanemy great”.
    Looking at Apple’s 2012 products I get the impression they’re awfully reactive; instead of leading the market, in many ways they’re catching up to the competition. And instead of building fully rounded products that do exactly what Apple wants them to do and do it well, they are shipping products where the hardware doesn’t quite measure up to the mission they’re given.
    Like the iPad3 where the CPU ran hot and the extra power in the electronics was barely adequate to the demands of the high-res screen.
    I’m thinking they got the *order* of their 2012 introductions screwed up.
    They really needed to intro the Mini in march–side by side with the iPad2–and then in the fall introduce the iPad4. The iPad3 right now looks like a stop-gap placeholder for the product they really wanted to ship, the A6-driven QXGA ipad.
    Right now it looks like their product line will stay screwed up until next summer and no amount of spin and sleight of hand is going to convince anybody but the most rabid of the faithful to be overly enthused by the mini.

    1. Yes, they should have released an iPad Mini in March. They could convincingly have pitched it as a pint-sized iPad 2 and made look like a good idea.

      But the problem with launching the Mini in March was that Apple had only just begun to realize that the Kindle Fire was a serious threat. They likely did not have enough time to develop and release the Mini between October 2011 and March 2012.

      And that is a pity, because the iPad Mini would not have been quite so overpriced or underspecced in the Spring of 2012. The $330 price tag, when combined with the better performance and allure of iOS, would have trounced the Kindle Fire and other Android tablets. It would have had specs and price similar to the mid-range Android tablets being released at that time.

      1. Not sure if the Apple bureaucracy *could* have delivered a Mini in march in response to the October FIRE intro.
        But if we look at the Mini introduction, it seems like it was the Google introduction of the Nexus7 that led to them pulling the trigger. (I’m assuming that they were looking at possibly doing one for a while, just as they’ve been looking at possibly doing a TV, but they didn’t get serious until Google got into the game.) And that was also six months lead time.
        Maybe a March Mini wouldn’t have been so light and anorexically skinny but it wouldn’t have put them where they are now; explaining themselves and promoting the heck out of it… at the expense of the higher margin iPad4.

        (I haven’t seen much promotion of the iPad4… I do know sales were good but not great, with the iPad4 and the Mini *together* selling roughly what the iPad3 sold in March. Are they supply constrained or just not rubbing it in?)

        Any way you add it up, Apple is now playing catchup…

        1. BTW, latest rumormongering on the tech side is that Apple is looking to move the Mac line to ARM as their counter to Microsoft’s Windows-everywhere so they, too, can run the same OS (a future iOS evolution, presumably) on everything from phones to PCs.
          I see the likelihood as low but that they are looking at it is another sign they are in reactive rather than pro-active mode.
          That leads me to think they *really* are doing a me-too SmartTV for 2013.

        2. I seriously hope that the Nexus 7 wasn’t what pushed Apple to release the Mini. The specs comparison is laughable. One device has a near-Retina display and a multi-core CPU while the other has an XVGA display and a dual core CPU.

          Which one was the Mini, again?

          1. You saw the presentation.
            Not one word about Amazon. It was all about Google.
            Of course, if they compared the Mini to the FireHD9 somebody in the audience might have ended up in the ER with a laughter-induced injury. ;)

      1. Did you test it on an iPad with Retina Display (iPad 4) to check to see if the performance was satisfactory? The iPad with Retina Display (iPad 3) also shares the A5 processor with the iPad 2 and iPad mini, perhaps it also would have issue with the media you were reading.

        The headline alternatively could be “Trollbait Article Reminds You That The New iPad is faster than previous iPads especially with epub3 books in iBooks 3.0″

          1. The A5X runs apps at the same speeds as the A5. The only difference between the A5 and the A5X is in the increased GPU cores. While it’s possible that iBooks has been graphically accelerated as I’m sure it’s using Core Animation the increased GPU cores exist to push the increased demands of the retina display.

            The Geekbench 2 Rating of the iPad 3 is 754. The Geekbench 2 Rating of the iPad 2 is 754. The Geekbench 2 Rating of the iPad mini is 757. (Barefeats.com)

            Now when I say that the increase in graphics cores is necessary because of the resolution doubling, the GLbenchmark for the Onscreen in FPS:
            iPad 3: 23 frames per second
            iPad mini: 25 frames per second
            iPad 2: 25 frames per second

            The iPad 3 actually performs worse than the iPad mini.

  2. Mr. Nate, remember when Steve Jobs was forced out (asked to leave or otherwise “left”) of Apple? Apple then, got into trouble with sales or products or something, and asked him to return to pull their butts out of the fire. Well, he is no longer with us so maybe Apple’s honchos need to get together and tell some hard truths to themselves, take egos out of the equation and listen to the people who know how to build tablets. Then, take the time to really test new tablets in the real world, and by they way other companies need to do the same, because some of them just rob the comsumers, selling junk.

    1. Apple spent the late eighties and early to mid nineties in lots of trouble. It wasn’t until the iMac came out, did they start to reinvent themselves. It also started the trend of PCs not looking like big white bricks. People act like Apple has always been this successful company. They only met this huge success because of the iPod which let to the iPad. The brought attention back to the MacBooks and made them popular which they were not before the iPod era. Where could you even find one? Best Buy wasn’t selling them and there were not any Apple stores nationwide.

      So I agree with what you say Mizzbee but we need to realize that Apple hasn’t always been this great company that people think of it today.

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