Now, there is nothing more boring than turning the pages of a digital book you purchased from iTunes. In fact, I'll rant about it for 600 words.
Because its page-turning animation is by far the greatest in the industry, Apple Books has been my go-to reading app for years. Sadly, that was removed with iOS 16 and was replaced by a new animation that gives the impression that you are flipping through a deck of cards rather than a digital representation of paper. And even though I've been attempting to adjust to the change ever since I joined the beta program in July, I still feel like Apple has ruined one of the last occasions when my phone made me happy.
I'll attempt to explain the gap that has suddenly appeared in my reading life for people who are unfamiliar with Apple's Books app (formerly known as iBooks). Before iOS 16, every time you tapped or swiped on the left or right edge of your device, the app would play a page-turning animation.
Though it wasn't only a subpar, pre-made animation, it represented one of the apex of the skeuomorphic aesthetic that predominated Apple's mobile operating system. If you swipe from the bottom and then move up, the "page" will curl upwards instead of turning to the side; if you swipe from the middle and then travel down, the animation is different depending on whether you swipe from the top, middle, or centre of the screen. The "page" falls back down, unturned, if you begin to swipe and then change your mind and move your finger back to the edge.
I believe the experience has been fully replaced in iOS 16 with an animation that would not look out of place in a Tinder knockoff or a PDF viewer utility app. I've looked through every screen under Books and Settings that comes to mind, but I haven't been able to figure out how to restore the previous flipping animation.
The only alternative I could discover to alter the page-turning experience was to make the book into a single vertically scrolling page, which I find to be even more insulting than the current animation (though, to be clear that was also in the old version of the app as well). I won't sit here and explain why all the other reading apps I've used fall short of Apple's version in its heyday because they either skip the page flip animation or fail to replicate the subtleties of shadowing and how a genuine page responds to your touch. I feel like it would be better to just show you a collection of GIFs so you can decide for yourself, not because I don't want to, of course.
Even though the transitions on e-ink displays are typically pretty eh, e-reader fans may argue that I should be reading on a dedicated device that isn't as susceptible to constantly updating software. However, I've discovered that a physical page turn button works just as well as Apple's animation did. However, even if I were to acquire a Kobo, Boox, or something like, that wouldn't help me with the several books I've already bought on Apple's platform.
I'm sure there are many individuals who believe this is a ludicrous complaint to make; I can almost hear folks typing comments like "wow, slow news day?" And yes, I fully acknowledge that this may be a somewhat petty piece about a very little issue that most likely won't affect many other people. But since most book stores and reading applications are essentially the same in terms of functionality, it was a feature that made me decide to buy e-books on Apple's platform rather than anyone else's. It is the little things that keep you tied to an ecosystem. Although the books app on iOS 16 has some very positive enhancements, I no longer find it to be a delight to use, and I think that's a great shame.