Fonts on the iPad

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Michael Albright's picture
Joined: 27 Nov 2005 - 1:52pm
Fonts on the iPad
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User selectable fonts in Apple's new iBook app:

Nina Stössinger's picture
Joined: 19 Jun 2006 - 3:01pm
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I just tweeted that same image. That is horrible text setting, once again. Why don't they do a right rag? I don't get it.

von's picture
von
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Joined: 10 Jan 2009 - 6:47pm
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that was fast.

Ulf Jacobsen's picture
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A new era of typographical challenges and oppurtunities knocks on the door. On iPad Eve I feel, as book designer, editor and typographer, much the same excitement that came with the introduction of quality paperbacks in the 1950s. Our book culture cannot without mediation just be republished in new media. All our typographical skills are needed to make the tablets function in a humane and literate way and thereby assist the survival of the book.

darrel's picture
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Where did Chalkboard go!?

I found the page turning effect interesting. It's not something that's been done on an eReader yet (that I know of) perhaps for a number of reasons including processor power and, well, it usually tends to be cheesy. But it may make sense on the iPad.

I didn't see all the detailed spec's on the screen yet. Anyone know if it's just standard backlit LED?

Blank's picture
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Why don't they do a right rag?

Because a few thousand designers who care about rivers in copy will complain far less than the millions of people who will get ticked when digital novels don’t look just like the paper versions.

David Berlow's picture
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>User selectable fonts in Apple's new iBook app:

lol. That list is too short to label user selectable. ;)

Cheers

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Nina, Apple hasn't cared about typography for many years now.

hhp

Bert Vanderveen's picture
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The display is a LED-backlit IPS-display. App. a tech. developed by Hitachi with a larger viewing angle than other LCDs.

Apple cares about typography. It’s the endusers that don’t.

Simon Daniels's picture
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:-)

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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Bert, Apple now only has a skeleton staff for type. They no longer show up to conferences. The only notable things they do in our field these days is stuff like plagiarize Comic Sans. Come on.

BTW, the screen is only 1024×768. For that high price, a rip-off. Also, it's not usable under light; they should have added an OLPC-style monochrome overlay, not least to compete against eBook readers.

--

You don't have to only target the limited conscious tastes and sensibilities of users. A company can choose to make things better, deep down, long-term, in fact even if it only believes in the bottom-line.

hhp

Jens Kutílek's picture
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Is the inclusion of Verdana a nod to the screen reading generation? ;)

AFAIK the EPUB ebook format which the iPad uses can contain embedded fonts. So it's more the question if the publishers still know that appropriate choice of typeface can add to the reading experience.

Why don't they do a right rag?

Or implement hyphenation. Can't be that complicated.

Richard Fink's picture
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Joined: 25 May 2009 - 10:04pm
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@james

Because a few thousand designers who care about rivers in copy will complain far less than the millions of people who will get ticked when digital novels don’t look just like the paper versions.

Don't be so sure about those millions of readers who are looking for versions that "look like the paper versions".
Digital books aren't about the paper version onscreen. We've got PDF's for that already.
Just MHO.

Good H&J will win out over bad in the end. But in the meantime, there will be a lot of ragged right - you'll see.

What a long strange trip it will be...

rich

Kent Lew's picture
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EPUB can contain embedded fonts, basically using the @font-face rule in the CSS and packing them up in the assets. But most e-reader software that I’ve looked at ignores any embedded fonts.

I haven’t done exhaustive research, but Adobe’s Digital Editions is the only one I’ve encountered that supports @font-face and utilizes the embedded fonts. But I don’t think it’s available on any mobile or e-reader platforms.

Setting aside the licensing etc. issues of @font-face, my question is whether the Apple iPad e-book software will support @font-face embedded fonts, or is only selectable among system-installed fonts. I suspect the latter, unfortunately. And it will probably be a closed system typographically, like the iPhone and iPod.

If by some chance it does support @font-face, then the next question will be whether it supports WOFF. Again, I suspect it doesn’t.

Kent Lew's picture
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Oh, and most e-reader apps offer a very simple setting to toggle justification off.

Tomi Haaparanta's picture
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The fact is that Apple is working its way to books in the same way it did with music. (Apps are something Apple generated all by itself.)

With books, I do get a bit concerned; Apple does not have a perfect record in the field of typography. And if Apple gets big enough, it does not have to think about that. Like Microsoft in too many fields; lowest common denomerator is quite enough.

But fingers crossed; this was long coming.

darrel's picture
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I agree with hrant. I think the iPad is great, and I'm sure I'll buy one at some point, but they didn't quite go all the way into eReader land with a proper screen. Maybe that's a good thing giving the competition some hope to continue innovating on that level.

I do wonder if things like the kindle app will be allowed to co-exist on the iPad. There's the hardware, but if they still allow other eReader apps, that could be a very good thing.

"Apple does not have a perfect record in the field of typography"

That said, many many book publishers don't have a great record in the field of typography either. :/

Nina Stössinger's picture
Joined: 19 Jun 2006 - 3:01pm
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I think Hrant is right. Sadly. I mean sure it's nice that Apple is now «cool» and successful instead of a bunch of weird outsider hippie nerds, but I'd still prefer them to stay true to their original target audience and what they originally stood for, and continue to focus on making their computers good tools* rather than sucking up to a broad consumerist and entertainment-craving public.

* Which for the record, I do think they are.
But 1024×768? What is that, a joke? :-\

Kent Lew's picture
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> I found the page turning effect interesting. It's not something that's been done on an eReader yet

Lexcycle’s Stanza app on the iPhone/iPod Touch has a page turn transition. And the speed of the transition is tunable to achieve something that feels natural with your reading speed. I don’t find it cheesy at all, and much more familiar than the other options like slide or none.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> Like Microsoft in too many fields

MS did not "have to" spend money having the Core Fonts or CT fonts made.

hhp

Richard Fink's picture
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@kentlew

I don't find the page turn cheesy either. And it's a fun little virtual reality thing.

What I'm waiting for is the digital equivalent of the flip-through. Which I'm imagining as a continuous right-to-left scroll. (At least on a per-chapter basis. I hate having to go back to the TOC or Index to go searching. And what if I just want to get the gist of the book?)
Anybody seen anything like that?

rich

Alex Pankratov's picture
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So, a million dollar question... drum roll... are you going to buy it ?

Tomi Haaparanta's picture
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> MS did not "have to" spend money having the Core Fonts or CT fonts made.

They could also give up their idea of a font family consisting of Plain, Italic, Bold and Bold Italic, and give us a brake with the coding.

Kent Lew's picture
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@Richard: When you tap at the bottom of the screen, Stanza will present a scroll bar that takes you quickly through by chapter. Not quite the flip-through you describe. But easier than clicking out to a TOC.

Tomi Haaparanta's picture
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Why would there be Coching or Baskerville for text?!?

I understand Palatino (and to some extenct Times). Baskerville for those disappearing thin lines? And Coching just for the small x-height? Verdana is given. For Ikea.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> are you going to buy it ?

You know, if I didn't have to pay $15/month* to get 3G access
on it, I might. The way I see it, I already pay money for Internet
access with my cable provider - I don't want to pay some monthly
tithe to one of those skanky cellphone companies. Right now I can
use my HP 2140 just fine with WiFi. And it multi-tasks...

* At the low end.

hhp

darrel's picture
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@hrant: 3g is an added option. It does wifi by default.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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I know - I'm saying I already have a highly-portable, WiFi
device that does more than the iPad. Except react to petting.

BTW, you need to pay about $350 more to get a model that's 3G-capable...

hhp

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Sorry, an article I read earlier seems to have been incorrect about
the premium for getting a 3G-capable version. Engadget is saying
the difference will be about $130.

BTW, I don't know if you guys know this, but the B&N Nook has a
hack that lets you run a browser on it. And it has 3G built-in, all
for $260 (and no monthly fee). The main issue is it's grayscale.

hhp

Tomi Haaparanta's picture
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I think the reason for Apple not going to OLED was books.

al len's picture
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I just found this font on the ipad site, can anyone identify it?

Christian R Szabo's picture
Joined: 3 Oct 2008 - 7:28pm
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I can't wait to get one of these.

Riccardo Sartori's picture
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 - 4:20am
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Jens Kutilek: Or implement hyphenation.

That's it, please. Same problem with the Kindle (and web pages for that matter).

We had it since Gutenberg, haven't we?

TorbjornLunde's picture
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> I found the page turning effect interesting. It's not something that's been done on an eReader yet (that I know of)...

The page turning and the library seems to be identical to the Classics Iphone app.

Kent Lew's picture
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Hmm. Now that Classics app page turn — that one seems rather cheesy and artificial to me. I hope the iBooks app isn’t quite like that.

Max I. Mus's picture
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1024x768, 9.7", which is
132 dpi, not too bad for lcd these days

Simon Daniels's picture
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How does that compare to iPhone? If it uses the same rendering (regular antialaising) that's going to look a bit soft isn't it, esp at small sizes?

Richard Fink's picture
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@kentlew

Thanks for the Stanza tip. I had a feeling I was missing something.

@all
Ran across one wag's thumbnail analysis of the iPad that rings true to me as far as the iPad as an e-book reader:

“As for the Kindle comparisons...
The Kindle is $259. The Kindle DX (similar screen size to the iPad) is $489. Both include free 3g connectivity and have battery life of a week.
The same functionality on the iPad would cost $629 (for the 16Gb with 3G) and then $180 a year for the low plan of 3G wireless access. And your battery would only last 10 hours, so you'd need to plug it in all the time. Plus, the books seem to be about 50% more expensive than on the Kindle. So, as a straight ebook reader, it loses.
Its advantage comes in being more than that. Unfortunately, it's not all it could be. It's basically an iPod Touch with a big screen. No camera (for Skype), no Adobe Flash, no USB ports, no SD expandability, no multitasking, no real PC apps (OpenOffice.org, Firefox, etc).”

Beau W's picture
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Half again the resolution of a normal screen.
I've been looking at the iPhone (150dpi) or equivalent Blackberry (180dpi) as possible
ways to have a higher-res preview of glyphs. Could be useful.

Kind of annoying that a lot of its potential is truncated not by technology but by
a need to control and limit the device.

Mark Simonson's picture
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The iPhone is 163 ppi, not 150. The iPad screen is very close to the ppi of the 17" MacBook Pro (133 ppi).

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> 132 dpi, not too bad for lcd these days

?
It's at the very low end. Is Apple supposed to be low-end?
Many HTC phones are 250 dpi. Same with the Sony P mini-netbook.
When it comes to browsing and reading (anything besides looking
at purdy pitcherz) that makes all the difference.

hhp

darrel's picture
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"no Adobe Flash, no USB ports, no SD expandability, no multitasking, no real PC apps (OpenOffice.org, Firefox, etc).”"

Right, but it's not meant to be a full PC. So I don't think those are detriments. Between the eBook thing and the iWorks/keyboard, it definitely feels like it's going to be heavily targeted at the .edu market.

For most PC users, I think it will be very much like the iPod itself...an accessory.

I'm not sure how it'll work as a eReader, though, given that it's a back-lit screen. Not the most ideal for reading long texts.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> it's not meant to be a full PC.

Which is exactly the problem.
It's just another gadget.
Check out the Viliv.

hhp

David Berlow's picture
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>It's at the very low end. Is Apple supposed to be low-end?

The google pad, at 88 dpi, is what then?

Cheers!

John Savard's picture
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I'll admit I would have replaced Cochin by Garamond, and Verdana by Univers... and been strongly tempted to add two more font choices (Caledonia and Bembo, perhaps), but I can't quarrel too much with the selection.

I think it's sort of cute that now people can get a box that is both your iPhone and your Kindle... although I consider computers a more useful application for that kind of electronics.

But, yes, the word spacing is quite wide in the photo, and I can see why Apple doesn't trust itself to hyphenate other people's proprietary and copyrighted texts perfectly every time: they're afraid, I suspect, that if their hyphenation software makes a mistake, they'll offend a publisher. (And letting people turn the hyphenation off would presumably make too confusing and complicated an interface.)

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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What's a "google pad"?

hhp

Christopher Roeleveld's picture
Joined: 1 May 2004 - 11:41am
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I've been using apps like the McSweeneys app on my iPhone that are actually really enjoyable for reading short stories (I've never actually tried reading a full novel on my iPhone). The font is fixed and there is a button to switch between two sizes of text.
I wonder if the author of the e-book on the iPad (or iPhone/osX, if the whole iBook thing trickles down to other devices) will have control to "lock" the typeface, or if the user can change that according to their preference?

paul d hunt's picture
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in the same space, i think i'd prefer one of these: http://www.litl.com/essays/hardware.htm

Christopher Timothy Dean's picture
Joined: 22 Oct 2006 - 10:49pm
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Thanks for the tip.

Michael Duggan's picture
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>Check out the Viliv.

whats with all the girls?

http://www.myviliv.com/eng/product/s5.asp

Jason Pagura's picture
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@mike_duggan: Marketing.
or perhaps the vibration feedback touch screen.