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Fast PDF brings iBooks functionality to PDF files


One bit of news from WWDC is that the new version of the OS formerly known as iPhone OS, iOS 4, will be released on June 21st. Along with it will come an iBooks app that will support PDF files. But you don't have to wait until then to get PDF support both on the iPhone/iPod touch and the iPad with an app that looks very much like iBooks.

Fast PDF
(US $0.99) does the job for PDF reading; it's a Unversal app (meaning that it looks great on both the iPhone and the iPad). This is really nothing revolutionary, since apps like Stanza (also a Universal app) have been doing this for quite a long time, but the virtue of Fast PDF is that it looks remarkably like iBooks and it is very simple to use.

Just like Stanza, you can download PDF files from either the Internet (this was a bit confusing), from your computer using a built-in server, or via iTunes' file transfer feature. Unlike Stanza, there is no file conversion. Often PDF files imported into Stanza look horribly formatted, and saving the file as an ePub or other file type doesn't make it any better. Fast PDF (which only deals with PDF files) brings everything in, perfectly formatted. After transferring, the resulting file looks exactly like the source.


If you know iBooks, you know Fast PDF. Turning to landscape mode displays two pages. Hitting "Outline" brings up a table of contents. As with Stanza, pinch and zoom are supported and unlike Stanza, double tapping on a page zooms it in or out. Bookmarks are also supported. Using a table view, you can delete or reorder your PDFs, and you can choose to display either one or two pages in landscape mode.

It works very well for what it does; it provides iBooks-type functionality to get you through the next few weeks until iOS 4 is released. If you have an iPad, it'll last you longer since iOS 4 won't be coming to the iPad until the fall. Overall, it's easy to use, looks great, and handles PDF files perfectly. If you have a need to import lots of PDF files and are comfortable with the iBooks interface, this is worth spending a dollar.

Here it is in action:




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iPhone App Review

One bit of news from WWDC is that the new version of the OS formerly known as iPhone OS, iOS 4, will be released on June 21st. Along with...