|I give it a D-|
It appears Apple's new digital textbooks platform -- unveiled to great fanfare Thursday in New York -- is off to a troubling start.
After fetching the free iBooks 2 upgrade that I was eager to try out on my own (original) iPad, I downloaded E.O. Wilson's Life on Earth, the first two chapters of which are being made available at no cost.
Once the biology textbook landed in my iBooks library, I tapped to open it. The book cover appeared for a moment, followed by a gray screen. Wilson's voice is heard narrating a brief introduction over that gray screen, and that's it. Wilson stops talking, and I can't make the gray screen disappear or advance in the book.
What's worse, I can't escape the book to return to my library so I could access all the other iBooks that I've previously collected. Closing and reopening the iBooks app failed to fix the problem. I hear Wilson's voice again briefly, see the gray screen, and still can't get to my other books.
Judging by the customer reviews in Apple's App Store, I'm not the only one experiencing snags. The cumulative rating for iBooks at the site (among 822 ratings) is a strong 4 out of 5 stars, but 129 people felt compelled to give the new iBooks app just a 1-star rating, and several reported problems similar to mine.
"Ouch, bugs!" wrote Michael McLinn, who nevertheless still gave iBooks a 3-star review.
"Great until the crash," wrote 1-star rater Tbudge who added, "Very excited about the possibilities but very disappointed when it crashed."
Here's how commenter Straight Street summed up his 1-star review: "It's obvious something isn't quite ready for Prime Time."
Indeed, Apple flunked my first test with iBooks 2 too. I've reached out to Apple for comment, and am going to try to remove the app and reinstall it to see if that helps.