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Apple updated iBooks to 1.3 today for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.  Most notable is the read-aloud feature included in select children’s books from the iBookstore.

The read-aloud feature uses a real narrator to read the book to you, and in some books, it will even highlight the words as you read along.

Initially, it isn’t certain whether or not the narrator will be a (Nuance?) Text to speech voice or if the audio is included by the developers.

The new functionality isn’t just for children’s books. Enhanced books can now automatically play audio or video included with the book.

Apple is now going beyond the other eBookstores offering innovation and functionality that differentiates books into the realm of apps.  Apple now offers Books directly in iTunes as part of the 10.3 update yesterday as well.

The 1.3 update also offers some bugfixes and enhancements from previous versions. More below:

What’s New in Version 1.3

iBooks 1.3 adds several new features and improvements:
• Help your children learn to read with the new read-aloud feature included in select children’s books from the iBookstore.
The read-aloud feature uses a real narrator to read the book to you, and in some books, it will even highlight the words as you read along.
• Enhanced books can now automatically play audio or video included with the book.
• Makes iBooks more responsive when opening very long books.
• Addresses an issue where some books may display the same page twice.

 

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