Prior posts in this series for comparisons:
Update On iPad 2 And Google Books PDFs
Google Books PDF Smackdown: NookColor Vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab Vs. iPad
Google Books PDF On HTC Flyer
eInk Nook Reading Google Books PDF
More PDF Action On Rooted NookColor
Google Books PDF On Rooted NookColor
And if you want to play along at home:
This is a continuation of a series of posts about devices I fondled last Friday (December 2, 2011).
All screensnaps in this post are full iPad 2 and iPhone 4s resolution. Click any to enlarge.
In this case, enlargement of some snaps will be required to see detail and to see what I’ve highlighted in red.
Before there was Adbusters or anything like that, there was Processed World. It was the printed meeting place for everyone stuck in a rotten job or mistreated by insane employers. I subscribed to it but something went awry and I never got all my issues. It might have gone under. This was the 1980s, pre-Internet, and newsstand distribution was difficult to get and increasingly expensive. I was never able to assemble a collection and now — God bless them! — the Internet Archive has every issue available for free!
What distinguishes these PDFs from the ones I’ve tested from Google Books is that the Internet Archive is using JPEG2000 as the graphics file in the PDF. This is a graphics file format that Google Books itself stopped using. It’s apparently very CPU-intensive, as this test will show.
Here it is downloaded and opened in iBooks. Note how few pages are showing up in the thumbnail row at bottom. This is 2:11PM and that cover is blurry:
And the Table of Contents is blurry:
And this page is blurry:
It’s 2:12PM and this page is blurry:
It’s now 2:13PM — it took two minutes for any one single page to unblur and render completely:
I was stupid and thought the next pages would be rendered now too. No:
But this previous page was now clear:
As was the Table of Contents:
And this one:
We’re now at 2:18PM and look at how few pages are in the thumbnail preview! Page nine is now clear:
But look what happened when I paged ahead to page ten and then back to page nine. Page nine is not there:
It’s now 2:27PM. In that time interval, I had set aside iBooks aside and did some tweets. I had hoped that rendering would continue. No:
And unlike with the Google Books PDF …
… jumping ahead even a few pages did not prioritize that page for rendering:
What’s strange is that the cover — which never became clear in the PDF itself — looked fine in Mobile Safari:
But click this image to see that even via browser, the text does not render very quickly:
Here is a clear, rendered page in the browser:
But moving ahead too quickly brings up a blank page with spinning dots:
Another example of uncompleted rendered text in the browser:
And most frustrating of all — when going back to the cover, it’s no longer there in the browser! It hasn’t been cached:
In short, this was a miserable, miserable experience.
Mind you, this was actually an improvement. Prior to iOS 5, iBooks could not render a Processed World PDF at all!
I then went on to try this on the new iPhone 4s. Since the iPhone 4s has the next-gen Apple CPU and enhancements to make it all faster, I really thought I’d see something slow but possibly acceptable on it.
I was very, very wrong!
Here is the same Processed World PDF opened in iBooks on the iPhone 4s. It is 2:52PM:
It is now 2:53PM and we still wait for the cover image to render:
It’s now 2:54PM — two minutes later! — and the cover still hasn’t appeared:
2:55PM, three minutes later, and finally the cover begins to render:
It’s now 2:56PM and look at how blurry the cover still is:
Still 2:56PM and see how few pages are shown as thumbnail previews:
At that point, I’d reached my level of frustration. The performance here was actually worse than the allegedly slower-CPU of the iPad 2! That’s as far as I was willing to go and I abandoned the test.
I have no idea what’s going on here. Are there actually two versions of iBooks — one for iPad and one for iPhone? Why should there be, aside from UI differences to accommodate a smaller screen on the iPhone? And why should the more powerful iPhone 4s do worse than the iPad 2? I just don’t know.
It’s not that I would ever read a Google Books PDF or issue of Processed World on the iPhone — the screen is just too small — but the difference in performance is very puzzling to me.
I’ve been impressed by videos I’ve seen of the iOS program GoodReader. I’m not able to try that program on an Apple Store iPad. Even though store demo models can download Samples from the iBookstore, they are blocked from downloading even free demos from the App Store.
So, if any of you out there have GoodReader, give this muscular and difficult PDF a try on your iPad 2 and leave a Comment. And if any of you know the GoodReader people, maybe they’d like to try this for themselves and — cough cough hint hint — even post a video on YouTube that I could then put in another post.
As for the Internet Archive, I appreciate their astounding work, but I’d like to see them drop the JPEG2000 graphics file format and move to something that is more tablet-friendly. I hope this type of conversion can also be done — perhaps first of all, because I want them! — to the run of Processed World they have stashed away.
Finally, for all of you who might be inclined to dismiss PDF, here was today’s news: Amazon invests in Foxit to boost PDF support in Kindle devices and apps. If Amazon thinks PDF matters, then PDF damn well matters!
Previously in this fondle series:
Update On iPad 2 And Google Books PDFs
Nano-Fondle: Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9
Nano-Fondle: Kindle Fire
Fondle: Nook Tablet
Nano-Fondle: eInk Devices
Nano-Fondle: Windows Phone And More
Nano-Fondle: Samsung Galaxy Player 5.0