Posted on by & filed under Product Updates & Tips.

Last week, I provided a comprehensive explanation of our iPad development efforts and gave an update as to our progress. I am now happy to report that we addressed the critical bugs and performance issues that delayed us in making our app available in the Apple app store.  As of today, we have re-submitted an updated version of Safari To Go to Apple for approval. We will keep you posted as soon as it has been approved for distribution in the App Store.

Thanks for your patience. We hope you will enjoy using Safari To Go as a valuable extension of your current subscription.

CJ Rayhill, SVP
Product Management & Technology
Safari Books Online

Tags: iPad, Safari Books Online,

57 Responses to “Another Update on our iPad App — Safari To Go”

  1. Jean K.

    Let me at it! I’m trying to read a head first book in Goodreader and it’s not quite up to the task.

  2. JeffS

    Thank you for supporting the iPad. This will make my subscription much more valuable.

  3. David Frederick

    This is great – thank you for the update. This app will be very helpful to me.

  4. WongKebument

    Wowww…Greatt..I have been waiting for long time….I hope Apple approve immediately…
    Thanks for The update…

  5. javabeanwill

    I’m am looking forward to giving your app a try. I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this app.

  6. Steve

    Thank you for the updates in both this and the previous post you mentioned. Hearing the summer release plans, then nothing for so long has made this a disappointing delay. This openness earlier on would have made the past few months much less irritating as we all waited.

  7. Bakafish

    Very pleased with the news. Let’s hope Apple lets it through quickly.

  8. Bob

    I’m so jealous. I bought a Kindle 3 primarily to read Safari Books Online. So far the K3 experience is awkward at best. At words of encouragement for us losers?

  9. Robert

    I canceled my Safari subscription because I travel several times a month and couldn’t read the books on my bookshelf while on the plane. The day the app is approved and appears on iTunes I will renew my subscription.

  10. Marco

    regarding the bookbag: it makes sense for you to limit it to 10 books total, however what about allowing the books that we bought with our download tokens to be inside the bookbag without taking extra spots? Basically having the bookbag be ’10 books you haven’t bought + however many books you have’

    I know we can already download the pdf/epub/… but it’d be nice to have all the books available in the same spot if possible.

  11. Oliver

    I can’t wait. The idea of this app was one of the final clinchers for me getting an iPad.

  12. Asiel Brumfield

    Hooray! It’s available in the app store now under “safari to go”. I just installed it on my iPad.

    Excited to try it out!

  13. Matt!

    The app is live in the store, but it seems very sluggish and buggy :-(

  14. Oliver

    It’s available! Downloaded and played around with it already. Scrolling is really wonky and the bookmark in the corner sometimes overlaps text. Not bad for 1.0…

    • Safari Books Online

      The app that made it into the app store was placed there in error and has been removed. This is not our final approved and fully tested app. The official Safari To Go app should be available soon but isn’t available yet. Sorry for the confusion.

  15. Michael Kerley

    Got it! Can’t figure out how to put books in the book bag though. Anyone have any luck? I tried dragging from favorites to book bag, but it thinks I’m trying to swap out the book.

    • Michael Kerley

      I played around with it a bit more, and was able to drag a book to the book bag. It seems to only work with a book that’s ready to be swapped, and it removes the book from the favorites… Meaning I can no longer read the same book on the web interface. Is that the intended behavior? It seems wrong to me…

      More importantly, the behavior once a book is in the book bag is broken. In print mode, I can only see the top half of each page, and it’s low resolution. Switching to HTML mode restores the missing content, and after that print mode does work properly (but only for pages I’ve already seen in HTML mode). If I quit the app and go back in, the half-page issue returns. It seems like the book bag isn’t actually saving anything locally…

  16. David

    Yes, I just downloaded and tried it – looks great! Love the bookbag feature.

  17. sendai

    When I click on ‘My Favorites’ at top I can see only 6 of my folders (out of the 10+ folders I use), not sure if this is a limitation by concept or I miss a point how to access the rest of my folders.

  18. Vadim K.

    Got the app. Unfortunately, it suffers from a number of problems, some of which I discuss below.

    Firstly, the interface is quite sluggish, especially when viewing the book content. Whenever I zoom page content and then drag to scroll, I need to keep my fingers away from the screen for several seconds before the app will recognize another touch. This kills usability almost completely. This is the single worst usability experience I’ve had with an iPad app, bar none.

    Secondly, the pinch-to-zoom is broken: it only expands/shrinks the page towards/away from the bottom-right. Annoying.

    Thirdly, the app does not support landscape. Why are you forcing me to read in portrait mode? The text on a page ends up so small that most characters are only 4 or 5 pixels tall. When I zoom the page to make the text legible, the lines of text no longer fit on the screen, requiring me to scroll horizontally twice per line of text. When combined with the sluggish scrolling behavior and the app’s inability to recognize touch input for a couple of seconds after any kind of scrolling, this comprehensively kills the reading experience.

    It seems that the “reader” proper was given very little love and attention. The rest of the app works quite a bit better, but that’s still not saying much. The shelves on the main page are sluggish (if they respond at all), and you only get to three screens of five books (or so) on each shelf. Why would anyone care which 15 books were most recently added when you have days where you add 50 at a time? In that sense, the front page is brain-dead.

    Overall, the state of the app is tragic. The single most important part of the app, the reader, is unusable. The rest of the app works poorly, and is so incredibly limited as to be of virtually no use. As incredible as it may seem, the web interface provides an iPad user a far, far better experience than “Safari To Go”, and that’s not much of a compliment to the web experience either.

    My suggestion: Focus on getting the reader right, especially adding support for landscape, fixing the unresponsive scrolling behavior, fixing pinch-to-zoom, etc. I implore you to have a look at “iAnnotate PDF” for an example of a fantastic reading experience, especially in landscape mode. Once the reader works well, the front end could be made more functional by introducing a usable catalog browser instead of the dead-slow, ultra-limited one you have in place right now. (What, I can’t search by author? Publisher?)

    In conclusion, the app has so many show-stoppers that it seems that, since I find the main site just barely usable on the iPad and the mobile site even worse, I’ll be stuck with reading your content from a computer for the foreseeable future. And that’s a real problem for me, since I code when I’m at a computer and I read when I’m away from it. This means that I’ll get virtually no use of your site over the next 8 months until my subscription expires. Unless you provide a solution for me to be enjoyably read your content while away from my computer in the coming months, my subscription will not be getting renewed.

    To be clear, I have no issue with the iPad form-factor as a reading device. “iAnnotate PDF” proves that you can have an out-of-this world fantastic reading experience on the device in much the same way as “Safari To Go 1.0.2” doesn’t.

    • CJ Rayhill

      The app you downloaded was an incorrect posting by Apple. Please wait for the official release in the coming days.

    • Meclizine50mg

      I completely agree with your comparison with iAnnotate PDF as a standard, even the latest Goodreader with side swipes works well. Yes I understand that the version of Safari To Go that I was luckily able to download a couple of nights ago before they pulled it off of the App Store was not the correct lastest version. However, the point of mentioning iAnnotate PDF is to say that it’s very possible to have a very fast reader with very fast page swiping/scrolling. It’s not a hardware limitation of the iPad if this reader turns out to be slow, it’s in the programming.

      Up until now I have been using iAnnotate PDF and Goodreader to read the PDF books I have downloaded from Safari Books Online (with download tokens). Like many others, I am totally looking forward to the Safari to Go app…thanks for releasing it with the offline bookbag feature.

    • Vadim K.

      Just picked up version 1.0.3 and it’s a little bit better. Pinch-to-zoom is fixed, but most other usability issues are still present. In particular, when zoomed-in in non-HTML mode, the app does not respond to touches for what seems to be about one to two seconds after scrolling the content. Also, most of the images do not load for me on the page right after signing in. And why can I only see ten of my folders? Where does this arbitrary limit come from?

      I now have to choose: tiny non-zoomed text where the app does not seem to have too bad of a responsiveness issue, or zoomed-in easy-to-read text with very poor touch responsiveness. Ugh, still no landscape.

      At least it’s somewhat usable now, but it’s still a crude reading experience. The web interface still works better than the app, but obviously without the offline functionality.

      I guess I’ll have to learn to live with what I have and wish that Safari To Go someday becomes the rich reading experience it deserves to be.

      3/5 stars from me, mostly for the offline feature. I sincerely hope that you continue making improvements to the app.

  19. Jack

    I grabbed it from the store last night and now it’s gone. @safaribooks says it was a mistake and not the final app.

  20. Gordon McGregor

    I picked it up last night. Hopefully the ‘real’ release has a much improved reader. Common features like swipe to change page were missing, books would only partially display etc.

    Fingers crossed for the real release.

  21. Taylor

    I just subscribed to Safari in anticipation of the iPad application! Can’t wait!

  22. tekchic

    My library in Phoenix grants us Safari online access — will this be available via the Safari to Go app, or will it only be for full-paying members?

    • CJ Rayhill

      No — you must have a full account (user id/pw) with Safari Books Online in order to access the service via the iPad app.

  23. blavv

    Is this only available to the US? I am in Japan, and I cannot seem to find the app in App Store…

    • Safari Books Online

      It is available to you in Japan. It may take some time for the Safari To Go app to appear for everyone. Please keep checking back. We hope it will be available for everyone by the end of today.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks! I just searched again and found it! I played around with it a bit, and, though there are rooms for improvements like others say, I can feel that this is going to be one of the coolest Apps I have ever found! Thank you again for your great work!

  24. javabeanwill

    Was the app pulled from the app store? I can no longer find it.

    • James

      Yes – it was pulled as the one that was placed originally was actually the wrong version. In a way, it is a good thing for the version that was temporarily release was a pretty bad experience (as you can see/read from other posts). On the other side, this is a poor show, mainly from Apple at the moment – you made a mistake and advetised the wrong version? Fine but have the courtesy to make it right by quickly pulling your finger out and expedite the process for the correct version. As of yet we are all just in the mercy of Apple…

  25. Beau Randall

    Could we clear up whether or not the whole submission process had to be redone due to Apple’s mixup? Was kind of hoping the real app was going to be appearing later in the day on the 2nd, but here we are 2 days later and 9 days after the initial submission.

  26. mike

    Um, how do I fix the half screen issue when I have the app on my ipad? I just downloaded it a few days ago.

  27. Chris Blaine

    iPad app had been working fine, however as of today have started seeing the half page issue, is ther a solution?