Even though Apple will be touting the iPad as an e-reader, the snazzy looking iBooks app won’t come bundled with the iPad, according to a recent post from John Gruber. Instead, iBooks will be a free application users will be able to download from the iTunes App Store.
The description of iBooks on the iPad features page reads:
The iBooks app is a great new way to read and buy books.1 Download the free app from the App Store and buy everything from classics to best sellers from the built-in iBookstore. Once you’ve bought a book, it’s displayed on your Bookshelf. Just tap it to start reading.
That footnote, in case you’re wondering, says that iBooks will only be available for download in the US. We’re not exactly sure why, but we imagine there are probably some licensing and legal issues at play. That may explain why Apple decided not to bundle the iBooks app with the iPad – after all, Apple is all about consistency and it would be wholly un-Apple like to put an app on the iPad that consumers outside of the US wouldn’t be able to use.
Gruber highlights a tweet from one of his readers suggesting that Apple left out iBooks from the iPad because doing so will allow Apple to update the app much more often than if “it were tied to OS updates.” This may be part of Apple’s reasoning.
Or maybe not.
On the surface it makes sense, but how often do we see updates to the App Store app or the iTunes Music Store app? They’re essentially front ends to Apple’s database of content and it doesn’t seem too likely that we’ll be seeing numerous iBooks updates coming from Apple. We’d wager that the iBooks app will eventually come standard with every iPad once the app becomes accessible to customers outside of the US.