The few who remember me from my early iPod touch Fans days will know that my time then was focused on finding an effective way of reading comics on the jailbroken iPod touch and iPhone OS 1.1.1. Things have moved on and we now have a rack of jailbreak and App Store solutions for reading comic scans and downloading licensed comic content on the iPhone and iPod touch.
The early rumours of an Apple tablet device turned my thoughts to its comic reading capability, though this enthusiasm was dampened with the keynote iPad launch on January 27th. However my (and Stephen Fry’s) view is that we’ll all slowly warm to the iPad over the coming months as we expand our view of its capabilities and developers start to roll out applications.
And so it begins. Panelfly, in collaboration with Sugarcube, announced that they plan to release an optimised version of their comic book reader (US only) in March 2010. The app will be free to download and allow in-app comic purchases. They already have a good range of Marvel titles as well as a range of quality indie publishers on their books so they’re sure to do well. I’m excited but I fear it may go the same way as the plethora of current App Store comic readers; i.e. if you like a range of comics you’ll need to have a range of reader apps due to licensing and back catalogue limitations. I’d prefer to see Apple taking control similar to the iPad’s books app and offer one app for all content. In the 21st century comics aren’ t just for kids and readership is set to increase as the electronic format gains a wider appeal.
However, what I’m really waiting for with baited breath is the new iPad app solutions that will allow comic lovers to read their own comic scans. So developers, if you’re listening, we want an app that will allow us to sync or upload our own scans, support higher resolutions (no more scan reformatting) and industry standard cbr and cbz format support, provide a quality bookshelf library view and a host of in-comic functionality to personalise the reading experience! Be first on the iPad App Store scene with a solid solution at an affordable price and you’ll make a killing.