Patently Apple analyzed a new patent application from Apple from last week which details several improvements for children’s books in iBooks through the use of new gestures:

One such gesture will allow a child to tap on a word and have an associated picture, animation or video pop-up to make that word come to life. For those learning a foreign language, Apple has devised a gesture to have a word present itself in the student’s native language so as to quicken the learning process. Apple’s ideas also seem to cross over to electronic magazines where tapping on certain words could pop up a related widget.

You could also press and hold a beginning and last word in a phrase to bring up the presentation of media content related to the phrase. Still images could be used to explain nouns and short clips would illustrate and define verbs, the document states. Apple then goes on to detail additional gestures, like swiping your finger over a single word or a word segment to hear the word or entire sentences or fragments spoken aloud. Kids could even slowly drag their finger over a word to hear it pronounced slowly. Heck, there are even gestures for adult books…

For example, a double- finger swipe in adult books could bring up images or audible information. And the most interesting bit: “Apple will give readers the ability to assign gestures like swipe, press-and-hold, tap, double-tap, flick, pinch, multiple finger tap, multiple finger press-and-hold and finally press-and-slide – to control the way information is presented to them”. This is noteworthy because Apple has never allowed gestures customization in iOS. Note that any of this is related to iBooks 1.3 update released last month but we certainly see the new gestures outlined in Apple’s patent application building upon, for example, the read-aloud feature of iBooks 1.3 that works with select children’s books from the iBookstore. It uses a real narrator to read the book to kids and some iBooks even highlight the words as you read along.

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