What the iPad is Missing (No, it’s not a Camera)

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News | Stephen Coles | April 8, 2010

I’m not an iPad naysayer. I forked over $700 on the first day of pre-ordering and my iPad hasn’t left my side, day or night, since it arrived on Monday. I’m with those who see the device and its new approach to computing as an exciting step forward, especially for media delivery. The possibilities for reviving the magazine and newspaper industries are exciting and real.

Yet it’s exactly that part of media consumption, reading, that reveals what’s missing on the iPad: good typography.

Signs that type took a backseat in the iPad’s development were clear back in January when Steve Jobs demoed the device, revealing just four uninspired and uninformed font options in iBooks. Apple also went with full justification without hyphenation, learning nothing from the Kindle’s spacing woes. These decisions were small or unnoticeable to the millions of future iPad buyers watching the announcement. But they stuck out like a sore thumb to typographers, whose job it is to make small, unnoticeable decisions that make text easier and more enjoyable to read. For those of us who hoped that a device meant for reading would be designed for reading, with all the typographic details well-considered and implemented, the announcement was disappointing.

Disappointing, but not surprising. Apple has made some puzzling decisions over the last few years that leave one wondering if they really care about typography as much as they did in the 1980s when the Mac launched the desktop publishing revolution. As recently as 2005, Steve Jobs made typography a central theme of his commencement address to Stanford grads, but his actions as the almighty head of Apple haven’t followed suit.

Lucida GrandeThe string of odd missteps began with the release of Mac OS X. Amid a bunch bundled fonts, most of which are not worth mentioning, the system came with Lucida Grande, an excellent screen-optimized version of Kris Holmes’ Lucida Sans. The clean, readable face, contemporary but fairly neutral, was used throughout the OS X interface and embraced by web designers (along with its Windows equivalent Lucida Sans Unicode) as their go-to family for small text. Yet, to this day, there is no Lucida Grande italic. I can’t explain why, and neither has anyone at Apple. This is the short and simple reason why sites like Facebook don’t use italic. If you design with Lucida your options for emphasis and hierarchy are limited to size and weight. Meanwhile, Microsoft — the company that traditionally eats Apple’s dust in design — worked with some of the world’s best type designers to develop the ClearType fonts, six complete families designed specifically for the screen.

A lack of Lucida italic could be considered a mild irritant, but Apple’s typographic neglect in OS X ran deeper. The system came with a font manager that was, until recently, the least reliable software bundled with a Mac. Even now it has has a reputation that contradicts Apple’s high customer satisfaction. Tweets about “Font Book” are often accompanied with the words “sucks” and “hate”.

Then came the iPhone, its fantastic display with a high pixel-density enabled legible type at small sizes. But Apple essentially erased that potential by choosing Helvetica as the iPhone’s system font. Sure, Helvetica is a graphic designer’s favorite, but its closed forms and tight spacing hinder reading, especially when small. It was a classic style-over-substance decision. The even more egregious spit in the face of readability was forcing Marker Felt users of the Notes app. More often than not, Apple’s recent decisions about type either ignore its importance or value form over function.

The iPad represents a new opportunity to reverse this trend. A device designed for media consumption could validate Apple’s dedication to design by emphasizing design’s most basic element: typography. But so far, it flops. Here’s what’s missing:

Typography on iPad

1. Missing in iBooks: Ragged Right Alignment and Hyphenation
This is Typography 101. You don’t need to be a full-time glyph geek to know what full justification without hyphenation does to spacing and readability. Of course, resizable text can’t benefit from all the careful spacing and line break adjustments traditionally made by a book designer, but the least an automated system can do is prevent wordspace rivers wide enough to sail a tanker through. This was one of the more obvious ways in which Apple could have one-upped the Kindle and they dropped the ball.

Update, June 21: iBooks 1.1 was released today with an option to disable full justification. Strangely, it’s buried in the iPad’s global Settings where few users will see it or even realize it’s an option, but at least Apple is listening. Hyphenation would help prevent the more ragged margins, but that’s a much greater feat.

2. Missing in iBooks: Orphan/Widow Prevention, Proper Handling of Tables and Line Breaks
Liz Castro is documenting how iBooks potentially mangles tables, ignores page breaks, and mishandles text wrapping around images. It’s possible that some of these issues can be addressed by the ePub author, but it sounds like iBooks could be more intelligent with documents that weren’t designed to display in such a narrow column widths.

3. Missing in iBooks: “Embeddable” Fonts
one commenter rightly condemns:

The lack of support for embedded fonts is a catastrophic failure. It’s a massive black mark against Apple for anyone who’s interested in seeing publishers improve the standard of ePubs.

4. Missing in iBooks: Font Options that Work for Books
Typography on the iPadIf you’re not going to let the publisher/book designer select the book’s typeface — and Sam Wieck explains why that alone is wrought with problems — the user’s options better be good. Unfortunately Apple offers just five: Baskerville (Monotype), Cochin, Palatino, Times New Roman, and Verdana. Of these, I’d say Palatino is the only legitimate choice for reading a book on a screen. Some cuts of Baskerville work well in print, but its weight is far too uneven for text in pixels. Cochin reeks of a decision made by someone gawking at pretty letters rather than diving into pages of text. The web learned long ago that Times New Roman doesn’t work for text type on-screen. And Verdana? Maybe for an IKEA catalog…

What would I offer instead? Minion, FF Scala, Dante, Garamond have all proven themselves in print. And the more sturdy of these alternative typefaces for book design would perform better than Apple’s selection.

This is only conjecture, but it feels like Apple decided to save some cash on font licensing by relying on the same old Linotype fonts they’ve bundled with their machines for years. If that’s the case, why not go with Hoefler Text which is already installed on the iPad? And the strangest omission of them all: Georgia, the father of all screen serifs and far better than any of the iBooks options.

Unlike Apple, Amazon clearly did their research here. PMN Caecilia isn’t well known outside the typorati, but it’s one of the more readable typefaces ever designed and its low stroke contrast and slab serifs serve the Kindle very well.

Update, June 21: Today’s iBooks 1.1 release offers Georgia as an option. Hallelujah! The difference in reading experience between Georgia and the other fonts is stark. I don’t know why you’d want to read with anything else in that list, except perhaps Palatino.

Typography on iPad

5. Missing in iPhone/iPad OS: a Legible, Flexible UI Font
Helvetica wasn’t a failure on the iPhone because the display’s high pixel density kept the letterforms clear. But the PPI on the iPad is significantly lower. I haven’t seen much that borders on illegibility, but relying on Helv limits the range of font sizes an app developer can use. Go below 12px and things get muddy (the numbers at the bottom of this Calendar view, for example). Our friend Lucida, on the other hand, which shines at small sizes, isn’t included on the iPad.

6. Missing in Pages: Accessible Text Options
Typography on iPadI’m impressed with how easy it is to make a nice looking document in Pages. But you better like its templates and default styles, because customizing the type is a bit of a chore. Font selection is buried behind a few taps and a scroll, and changing the font size requires a tedious tap for each single point up or down. It’s all surprisingly un-Mac-like.

7. Missing in Mobile Safari: True @font-face Support
Contrary to some reports, the iPad does support CSS font linking via @font-face, but it’s limited to SVG. There are many reasons why SVG isn’t a legitimate font format — stability and selectability, for example — but the most important is that a majority of font makers have already settled on WOFF or services like Typekit as their format of choice. This blasts developers back to those dark ages (a few months ago) when there were very few professional fonts available for embedding. Typekit is working on a solution, but it’s not ready for prime time.

So, webfonts are out. Fortunately there’s a much longer list of fonts installed on the iPad compared to the iPhone/iPod Touch, but very few of them are very interesting or practical for modern web and app design.

Typography on iPad

8. Missing in Notes: Font Options
The Notes app on the iPad is still stuck in silly Marker Felt land!

We can only hope and pray to Lord Jobs that today’s iPhone OS 4.0 event will address some of these gaping holes. With so many manufacturers, publishers, designers, and developers following Apple’s lead, the state of typography in a world of digital media may depend on it.

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  1. I will waiting iPad 2.0 or 3.0 and I hope Apple give more better function, little bugs and of course camera ;)

    Posted by Jauhari on Apr. 8, 2010
  2. Thanks for the great post! It is interesting that Apple has missed these things. I especially find it weird that hyphenation is not included in iBooks. Things like this matter if you want to replace reading regular books. I am a little afraid that we are moving away from the quality real publishing gives us.

    Posted by Mikael Halén on Apr. 8, 2010
  3. IMO an iPad isn’t at all suited for ebooks. The dimensions for eReading are perfect, however the screen itself isn’t. Dedicated eReaders have E-ink powered displays, which have far more better resolution and is easier for the eye to read. I’m not even going into battery life and such when comparing the iPad and an eReader.

    Posted by Le Snoet on Apr. 8, 2010
  4. The biggest typography/usability blunder on iPad/Pod/Phone must be the ALL CAPS rendered keyboard. Having a dynamic rendered keyboard which switches between ALL CAPS / lower case, would be so much easier to understand.

    Posted by Easy on Apr. 8, 2010
  5. Great criticism of the font choices on the iPad.
    • SVG is not a good answer for web fonts.
    • Developers can embed fonts in their apps. Of course they only work in the app.
    • What about hinting? Screen res is great, but fonts still have uneven rendering (unpredictable bitmaps for each glyph) and uneven spacing particularly at small sizes. Apple has its own religion on auto-hinting, but it is WYSIWIG not size-based. (Bow to David Berlow.) Check out Georgia at 10px or smaller and you see the problem.

    Posted by Roger Black on Apr. 8, 2010
  6. Yeah, the preview videos already let us guess that typography wouldn’t be a matter obviously, and your post confirms it – for a design-savvy company Apple sure seems to be dropping the ball here. It’s almost weird that they invested so much love into UI-details yet mess up a small thing like integrating solid fonts into the system. If you want to do eBooks, you gotta have a high(er) res display and fonts that mimic the feeling of a real book. Sabon, Bembo, Garamond would be a good start (with SC and OSF), and as a whole the iPad could use something that looks/feels like a ScalaSans/Milo/Thesis. Even easier would be an option to just install a handful of your very own OTFs and bingo.
    And that pages-interface looks clumsy, to say the least. Here’s hoping that Apple will get their act together, stop focussing on marketing-events and come up with a better solution. If they want to become a hub for digital publishing, they simply WILL have to up the typographic options of the iPhone and iPad.

    Posted by HD Schellnack on Apr. 8, 2010
  7. Thank you for your insightful article. As a graphic designer, it was disappointing. I stopped trying to use the Kindle app on my iPhone because the rivers-of-white were killing me. I stopped using the Note app (downloaded one of the others) because of that inane Marker Felt.
    Could I tolerate a Microsoftesque approach to typography?

    Posted by Brad Cathey on Apr. 8, 2010
  8. You make some extremely valuable points here which I had not considered. I also hope that os 4.0 will address these issues, it’s one of the most important usability aspects. As for the felt marker font, whilst I understand the context Apple have chosen for their app, I personally consider it just as offensive as comic sans. Thanks for such a comprehensive analysis.

    Posted by Dan Davidson on Apr. 8, 2010
  9. Stephen,
    Great article. I’m also disturbed by the font “choices” on the iPad – and I’m not a glyph geek. Marker Felt grates on my nerves like fingernails on a blackboard. Your alternates are perfect: Georgia and Garamond are incredible, and Scala is one of the most beautiful fonts I own. I love it like ice cream.
    I surmised, as you did, that these horrible fonts were a cost decision – particularly when creating a sub-$500 device. Perhaps they were, or perhaps there was no decision at all. Maybe they just threw some fonts at it.
    But, how ’bout an app that lets us transfer our fonts to the damn thing so we (the Apple cheerleaders) don’t have to cringe every time we take a note? I’d pay a buck for that! Maybe two.
    If I could put Scala on my iPad… oh, the places I would go!

    Posted by Craig on Apr. 8, 2010
  10. Georgia is not include in iPad? I can’t believe

    Posted by Xavi on Apr. 8, 2010
  11. Xavi — Georgia is in the system and available to apps (Safari for instance) but it’s not an option in iBooks.

    Posted by Stephen Coles on Apr. 8, 2010
  12. Altho I agree totally with what you say about type, there are a few mitigating factors:
    – Jonathan Ives comes from design school, not publishing
    – many other Apple employees are young (i.e. not from publishing)
    – in the 1980s many senior Apple people came from publishing
    – Adobe, Linotype, Agfa etc were significant players in those days
    – you said it, Apple of old was about desktop publishing
    Today is very different:
    – 90 percent of websites and blogs have rubbish typography
    – 70 percent of newspapers have rubbish typography
    – 50 percent of magazines have rubbish typography
    So, in short, I’m not holding my breath. Even tho I think the losses you define are dramatic and extremely sad.

    Posted by brian on Apr. 8, 2010
  13. I totally agree… this is one of the many reasons I jailbroke my iPhone… custom fonts! I am planning on jailbreaking my iPad for the same reasons. I HATE markerfelt :)

    Posted by Niki Brown on Apr. 8, 2010
  14. An excellent post Stephen. I like the thoroughness of the list. As somebody who love type, these examples are a real disappointment. As somebody practicing interaction design and building digital things the iPad holds so much power.
    I truly hope that Apple will take the initiative. Until then it’s going to be up to designers/developers and type foundries to bring good type and superior experience to digital presentation.
    For example Eucalyptus on the iPhone sets justified text quite nicely, given that it’s justified and was reason enough for me to purchase the app. Embedding fonts in web pages will be key and even though the SVG in MobileSafari isn’t ideal it may brdige the gap for some time.
    I fear that Jobs’ obsession with a certain subset of typefaces has always limited Apple’s ability to truly lead in screen based typography, and it certainly is a problem for all designers and developers who are interested in creating our screen based future.

    Posted by Jon Whipple on Apr. 8, 2010
  15. I am not a font expert, so I had not delved into this. I am grateful for your investigation and post. (‘Ew!’ is right…)

    Posted by Guy At HockeyBias dot com on Apr. 8, 2010
  16. Excuse me, nor am I a typography expert. sheesh…

    Posted by Guy At HockeyBias dot com on Apr. 8, 2010
  17. Some very good points. I don’t own an iPad (and won’t, at least for a while) but when I saw those rivers in iBook during the iPad announcement, I almost cried. The whole iBook application seems pretty poorly considered (don’t even get me started in the archaicness of the “page turn” animation). If this is going to be the future of reading, they need to actually think about it, and not slap something together. The next version of the software better not even include the words “Times,” “New,” and “Roman”.

    Posted by Colin M. Ford on Apr. 8, 2010
  18. I still think iPad should have a web camera.

    Posted by uwspstar on Apr. 8, 2010
  19. Thanks for the insights. I found that if you start off typing in Notes in a different writing system (say, Traditional Chinese), and then switch back to the Roman alphabet, you get rid of Marker Felt. It’s definitely cumbersome, but it’s the only way to write to have notes that are easy to read.

    Posted by Dana on Apr. 8, 2010
  20. Knowing Steve’s obsession with typography, this will likely be fixed with a minor update pretty quickly.

    Posted by JG on Apr. 8, 2010
  21. All interesting points, although I doubt there’s going to be much in the way of new zingy fonts added to the iPad/iPhone OS, even for iBooks.

    Personally, I’d just be happy with a few changes you mentioned: give Mobile Safari the ability to handle more kinds of web fonts than SVG; propagate that ability to iBooks (and anything else using Mobile WebKit); and bring in a much better H&J algorithm. I’d really like to see the latter applied to browsers in general, though. Given how long TeX has been around, it’s not as if this isn’t a solved problem, and even a naive word processor style hyphenation routine would be better than what we have.

    As far as I can tell, the atrocious formatting of a lot of ePub books tends to be due to really lousy automatic conversion routines. I have O’Reilly’s “Cocoa and Objective C: Up and Running” as an ePub book in iBooks (purchased from O’Reilly’s own store, not Apple’s), and it’s a very good example of how nice the format can actually be if it’s used by someone who knows what they’re doing. It’s worth noting that the book also has ragged-right justification, not full justification.

    Posted by Watts on Apr. 8, 2010
  22. iBooks isn’t the only book reader on the iPad. There is also a free Kindle app. It doesn’t let you change fonts and justifies the text (without hyphenation), but it uses Georgia, which is a definite improvement over the font choices in iBooks. There are about a hundred times more books available, they cost less, and you can switch to another device (an actual Kindle or the iPhone app for example) and pick up right where you left off.

    Posted by Mark Simonson on Apr. 8, 2010
  23. The hideous Marker Felt actually prevents me from using Notes. I just can’t take myself seriously in that font. Ugh.
    Thanks for an insightful article. I hope typographers are howling loud enough for Apple to heed and change.

    Posted by Helen on Apr. 8, 2010
  24. I don’t know too much about the iPad, but… is there a pdf reader for the thing? Then why not have your ebooks in pdf? Because that way you have all the control over fonts and linebreaking and so on that you would like, no?

    Posted by Freek on Apr. 8, 2010
  25. I’m owner of a nook (and still waiting for the release of the iPad in Europe), and I’ve already wondered about the eBook standards.

    Why didn’t anybody come to the idea to use LaTeX as source for eBooks? Then it could be almost guaranteed that an eBook looks good on any device.

    Posted by ComSubVie on Apr. 8, 2010
  26. This looks horrible. Especially iBooks!

    No way I’m going back to PCs, but Apple has got to do SOMETHING!

    Where can I sign the petition? =/

    Posted by Henric on Apr. 8, 2010
  27. Great article, Stephen!
    For the publishing people who expect the iPad to be the saviour of their industry, there could be a rude awakening. Not that they care very much about typography, but they cannot afford to lose the look of their brands and have it replaced by generic and bad type. Seeing that we have only just made big steps towards decent type even on the web, Apple’s ignorance really hurts.

    Posted by erik spiekermann on Apr. 8, 2010
  28. Man, that iBooks app is indeed butt-ugly. I use Stanza on the iPhone; nothing beats reading in the dark, light green text on black background (thanks to being able to customize nearly everything). It’s like I am in the Matrix. You also get ragged-right with Stanza. iBooks looks so… gimmicky.
    Anyways, I heartily recommend jailbreaking this thing when stuff gets stable.

    Posted by David Boni on Apr. 8, 2010
  29. Didn’t Steve Jobs study calligraphy and typography in college? I though that was why the Mac had fonts.

    Posted by Kevin on Apr. 8, 2010
  30. Well done Stephen. I hope Apple is able to fix these things. Clearly it is their self interest to do so.

    Posted by Eben Sorkin on Apr. 8, 2010
  31. What’s unfortunate about the approach to typography on the iPad is that it seems to be based on the minimal standards of the web as opposed to the printed page.

    Posted by Daryl Woods on Apr. 8, 2010
  32. I couldn’t agree more. I, too, wish these had been addressed today, but it sounds like not a single one was. Kind of depressing coming from a man who claims to have been profoundly inspired by good typography when working on the original Mac.

    Posted by Raymond Brigleb on Apr. 8, 2010
  33. What a great, comprehensive look at the font situation on the iPad. I’m a huge fan of Typekit and use it on all my sites. Sad then to see on Saturday how my beloved fonts had disappeared. I really hope TK can figure out a workable solution, but more importantly I hope Apple reads this post and adjusts accordingly.

    Posted by Jim on Apr. 8, 2010
  34. Thanks for this post. Very helpful for potential iPad buyers.

    Posted by Chris Russell on Apr. 8, 2010
  35. Is there a pdf reader for the iPad that displays pages as images? That way you could create (or convert) books using LaTex, InDesign, Calibre, etc. and avoid these problems.

    Posted by Fred on Apr. 8, 2010
  36. Thanks for a great review – One reason I usually wait for version 2. . .As a former designer, these “flaws” would have driven me crazy if I had this version.

    Posted by Donna McGinnis on Apr. 8, 2010
  37. Not a chance that these issue would be fixed before long, and even then they would be shown as shiny new.

    Posted by dvhh on Apr. 8, 2010
  38. For those who asked, you can view PDFs on the iPad, just like you can on the iPhone/iPod touch. Apple doesn’t include a stand-alone PDF reader app, but you can view PDFs from Mobile Safari, as mail attachments, etc. There are also quite a few third party PDF reader apps already. The best so far seems to be GoodReader.

    Posted by Mark Simonson on Apr. 8, 2010
  39. I’ve to say that I’m a little disappointed that the iPad book offering is basically a remediated (print) book. I mean, we’ve got this interesting new device one of whose anticipated functions is to create a new format/venue for textual reading and the work included with it to demonstrate this point is an imitation of the old format/venue.
    Why not a reconceptualization of the print book on a par with the new device?

    Posted by Nipperkin on Apr. 8, 2010
  40. Agreement on all points, and a small hint to work around the hell of Marker Felt. This may work with other languages as well, but (at least on the iPhone) if you create a note and type even a single character in Japanese, the entire note is forced into some sans font that is, if not beautiful, far more legible than marker felt.
    So for any note document that I routinely edit, I make sure to at some point stuff a japanese character in there. For quick notes it isn’t practical of course.

    Posted by Seth on Apr. 8, 2010
  41. Ugh, this is just ridiculous – the word spacing in that sample from Winnie the Pooh is just embarrassing as well as painful to read. If Apple wants people to read iBooks, they’re going to have to actually make them legible and more desirable than their printed counterparts.
    [also, your numbering is out of order :) ]

    Posted by gillico on Apr. 8, 2010
  42. If you sync a note, it shows up in Mail.app on your Mac.
    There, you can change the font to something reasonable, and sync it back to your iPad.
    The new font is still there on your iPad.

    Posted by DavidPhillipOster on Apr. 8, 2010
  43. I did not expect something like this from Apple. Well it’s not going to affect my buying decision, but still… Like you said Stephen, many follow apple in digital media. They should pay more attention to responsible design. If they want to be an example and take lead? And I hate that Marker Felt!

    Posted by Mikko on Apr. 8, 2010
  44. Impressive review as it relates to us type-loving designers. The iPad holds great promise but these oversights in the debut version are disappointing. Hopefully, someone at Apple takes these eight items to their top developers’ meeting post-haste so they are addressed before the next release.

    Posted by Matthew on Apr. 9, 2010
  45. Just a quick question: I can think of reasons that make SVG fonts annoying, but I don’t understand from your write-up what your concerns are. You say “stability and selectability” — would you care to clarify?

    Posted by Robin Berjon on Apr. 9, 2010
  46. You took the words RIGHT out of my mouth. I had thought the same thing about the iPhone, except with the iPad it’s a whole new level of forgetting to re-look at their typography.
    Good suggestions btw.

    Posted by Ryan on Apr. 9, 2010
  47. Well said!
    I’d like to see Apple not only improve the typography on their various interfaces, but I’d also like them to put an emphasis on graphic design software that seems to be missing from their portfolio of pro apps. Maybe if they reinvented Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Flash, etc, then a love of typography would flow back into their interfaces. Let’s get some Apple pro software for print and web designers and some better typographic standards!

    Posted by James Kurtz III on Apr. 9, 2010
  48. I agree with everything here except the Marker Felt hate. Sure, it’s juvenile, but the point of the Notebook app isn’t to produce beautiful documents, it’s to jot down quick notes. Furthermore, Marker Felt makes non-typography-geeks go “Ooh it’s like a real notebook!” These two things make me okay with Marker Felt for this one app.

    Posted by Jake Boxer on Apr. 9, 2010
  49. Thanks for taking the time to point these out. I especially apppreciate the mention of the Marker Felt boondoggle. I would really like to know how a designer at Apple could actually think this was a good font to use.
    The other subject that bothers me about what I’ve seen so far typographically on the iPad is the gratuitous use of leading/padding. This is something that Apple seems to have started with OSX and continues on their new devices. Take for example your last screen shot above. What’s with the leading on the 14 Note section on the left? Is all that space really needed? Does that amount of leading really help with legibility? Is this something that Apple encourages in their SDK?
    It will be interesting to see if this device that is touted by some as the future or at least the evolution of print will acquire more (any) typographic nuance.

    Posted by John on Apr. 9, 2010
  50. You should email this to steve jobs.

    Posted by dave on Apr. 9, 2010
  51. Oh, the future of (web) typography depends on “Lord Jobs” benevolence?
    If that was true, I’d hang myself and leave the field to you Apple fanbois. ;)
    Apart from that, thanks for this comprehensive list!

    Posted by Florian Schmitt on Apr. 9, 2010
  52. excellent points, i’m not a typographer by any means, but i do enjoy some good kerning.

    Posted by that jon jackson on Apr. 9, 2010
  53. Florian, I deify him jokingly, of course, but my concerns for typography are genuine. I can’t think of another individual who has as much power to define the form of digital media.

    Posted by Stephen Coles on Apr. 9, 2010
  54. I think the Notebook + Marker Felt combo is another (silly IMO) example of wanting to imitate/remediate the old and familiar instead of embracing the new and reconceptualizing and redesigning accordingly. Even without abandoning the “notepad” metaphor, the “Simplenote” app for the iPhone is so much more elegant and aesthetically and functionally in keeping with Apple’s whole design philosophy.
    Though I’d like to see a move away from designs/UI based on print/written models toward something more “natively” digital, with respect to iPad apps, it’ll probably come – as it has on the iPhone – from 3rd party designers.

    Posted by Nipperkin on Apr. 9, 2010
  55. Delightful article!
    I never knew what a difference typography meant when reading until I purchased a series of books where special care was taken. There was often a note about the typographer and the font in the beginning of the book, which at first seemed silly to me until I switched between those books and an “airport paperback” one time. My eyes begged me to go back to carefully crafted typography.
    And with apologies to Milne:
    “Your columns are too narrow,” said Pooh.
    “Your whitespace is too wide,” said Rabbit.

    Posted by Michael on Apr. 9, 2010
  56. Nice work Stephen! Amen to all that and more… Marker Felt – would’ve been worthy of the Newton maybe. Cochin – great for a dinner menu but extended reading!? Thanks for bringing all this to light.

    Posted by Steve Matteson on Apr. 9, 2010
  57. I agree with what you’re saying, for the most part. However I think you also stumbled across something when you wrote, “It’s all surprisingly un-Mac-like.”
    I think that is kind of the point of these devices, isn’t it? To break away from how the Mac does things and be a kind of grand experiment on rethinking everything we’ve grown to know from desktop systems.
    I’m NOT saying these new ways are always successful, but I would urge caution any time you feel that you need to compare how the Mac does things vs. how new touch interface tablets do things. (Personally I would like to see the scroll wheel used for choosing font sizes).
    I thought the numbers at the bottom of the calendar view were quite legible on an actual iPad and your scaled down thumbnail does it a disservice. I think it is perhaps a little unfair to suggest that some magical formula would fix all of the Project Gutenberg books to look beautiful. I also see that you’re only showing the two-page spreads, which necessarily limit the amount of text. I thought the portrait mode did a much better job of presenting a nice looking page.
    All that said, Marker Felt sucks and I would really like to see Apple revisit their font choices for both Mac OS X and iPhone OS in a big way.

    Posted by Christopher Drum on Apr. 9, 2010
  58. I’m a graphic designer/illustrator, and thus not nearly as into type as many designers.
    But when I first saw iBooks, in Apple’s nicely done iPad videos, my immediate reaction was, “Huh? That’s ugly – am I crazy?”
    You are right, it fails Typography 101. Hopefully they will get back to taking typography seriously… It’s odd since they obviously put a lot of thought into other design/usability issues.

    Posted by jwbjerk on Apr. 9, 2010
  59. I agree with you 100%, Stephen. Now, please contact the appropriate authority within Apple and make your observations known, so that someone who actually has the power to effect change will.

    Posted by Mark Oehlschlager on Apr. 9, 2010
  60. While critiquing Apple on its choice of fonts recently I noticed it doesn’t bother you, or someone in charge of what you do, to pull off that “grey” stunt of fading typeset black into obscurity and making it very difficult to read, especially for someone over 60 who knows something about your comments. I take it you are under 40?
    I suspect you have no idea how much effort Apple put into what they did do, just to get it out the door and recoup some of the money they’ve spent so far.
    It seems like there are a lot of bloggers out there with their own special expertise to critique a form that is so new > What will you write about next week?
    Try putting some quote marks around the hard-to-read lines until Apple makes everything much better.
    As to Marker Felt, it’s pretty easy to read, and I think for now, that’s what’s important. This is a tool. Maybe it will eventually become a Swiss Army knife.

    Posted by Bob Long on Apr. 9, 2010
  61. From what I understand, iBooks was one of those apps that wasn’t even available for mass use on the iPads immediately following the Steve-note at the iPad Introduction in late January when the invited journalists had some honest-to-God face-time with the device. Those that spoke of this said it simply wasn’t ready.
    It’s 60 days later and the software is “good enough” to be in use on the half-million iPads sold thus far. As a 1.0 Freshman effort, I’d say Apple has done a great job. Perfect? No. But solid. There’s a number of items that make me scratch my head in their absence: the top of the list are “what, no black on white mode for night time reading?!” and “you’re kidding, no annotations?!” Even with the shortcomings, ultimately, the software gets the job done.
    Articles like this will only help educate the masses so that we can give Apple our feedback about how to make iBooks even better. The great thing about Apple’s devices of late is that they’re the proverbial “gift that keep on giving” as updates keep rolling our way, robust with great new features and refined software. There are a few companies that are trying to follow suit (Android comes to mind), but generally speaking, until very recently, the software you got when you bought your phone was the software you were stuck with for the life of your crappy device.
    I’m probably one of the few that believe Apple is in this thing for a whole lot more than just the money. They care. iBooks will not be the same this time next year.
    In closing… Mr. Coles, kudos… great article full of focus; it not only criticizes but gives alternatives. That’s the difference. So many critics on the ‘net that leave great solutions to someone else as they slice, dice and carve up someone else’s efforts. Negativity has far too big a foothold on the web as is. Thank you for doing your duty without being vengeful or spiteful in your criticism.

    Posted by James Gowan on Apr. 9, 2010
  62. Thanks, Stephen, for articulating point-by-point each of the Apple missed opportunities. I’m crestfallen. Cochin? Seriously? Not picking up the @font-face tag? It just seemed natural that Apple would get how important utilizing embedded fonts would be to separating their e-reader from the wide array of banal competitors.

    Posted by Charles Nix on Apr. 9, 2010
  63. Another simple example: On both the iPhone and iPad keyboards, the default apostrophe is really the prime mark. You can click-and-hold (at least, you can on the iPhone … not sure about the iPad) to get smart quotes, but it’s a shame that you have to opt-in for those marks.

    Posted by Charlie Park on Apr. 9, 2010
  64. Nicely summarized, Stephen! I don’t have an iPad yet (though I’m tempted by the coming 3G model). But I’m still scratching my head over Helvetica Neue on my iPhone (which *has* caused me to mis-read phone numbers) and the wonky Market Felt spacing in the Notes app. Fortunately the New York Times iPhone app uses Georgia (the Wall Street Journal actually uses Helvetica on the; sigh).

    Posted by David Lemon on Apr. 9, 2010
  65. I agree about the general readability concerns with the included fonts. Hopefully this is going to be fixed by Apple in a software update at some point.
    One very nice thing about the iPad and maybe an upcoming version of the iPhone SDK is the ability for application developers to embed arbitrary fonts in their applications. Previous versions of the SDK did not allow this (it had to be done manually). Thus we should see more variation in typography and especially applications with an attention to detail could start to look a lot nicer (or at least stand out from the crowd more).

    Posted by Steven Canfield on Apr. 9, 2010
  66. In Settings, enable a foreign keyboard like Japanese.
    Then in Notes, switch to Japanese, type a hiragana character, backspace, and return to English.
    Your note will now be in Arial unicode. Not perfect, but better than marker goddamn felt.
    This works on iPhone as well.

    Posted by mdhughes on Apr. 9, 2010
  67. Cochin reeks of a decision made by someone gawking at pretty letters rather than diving into pages of text.

    seriously? also, your haughty nitpicking would carry more weight if your blog’s layout rendered correctly.

    Posted by bw on Apr. 9, 2010
  68. Very good points and it is disappointing indeed that Apple doesn’t seem to care more about typography right now …

    Posted by Jerome on Apr. 10, 2010
  69. It’s missing iBooks completely unless you’re based in the US

    Posted by Ricky on Apr. 10, 2010
  70. these are screenshots from ipod touch, but i guess this weird helvetica is on all apple portables.
    the good lcaron:

    only on ‘now playing’ screen:


    Posted by Ondrej on Apr. 10, 2010
  71. (…) your haughty nitpicking (…)

    Somehow I doubt one would accuse of “haughty nitpicking” a surgeon who fusses over the exact length and direction of an incision, or a legal expert who discusses the minutiae of a new legislation, or an architect who calculates to the umpteenth decimal specific structural details in construction. I think this post and the now 70 comments prove that Stephen knows what he’s talking about, and that people do care about this.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Apr. 10, 2010
  72. Take these issues, and double them for languages that aren’t English.

    Posted by Paul Davidson on Apr. 10, 2010
  73. I like Helvetica and the pervasive use of it in iPhone, but you made a great point for iPad’s case as the monitor has a much lower density, which renders Helvetica much less legible. One would have thought Apple to use a monitor of higher resolution for the iPad, because that will eliminate most font hinting issues Microsoft tried to solve with ClearType.
    Microsoft is perhaps the software corporation that has higher focus on typography these days than Apple. Their newest Windows Phone 7 UI is based completely on using great typography (not wishy-washy UI) to display information. And they have a whole department dedicated to type.
    Check out the ligature options in Microsoft Word 2010 and their Gabriola font. It’s so great it makes you cry:

    Posted by Pak-Kei on Apr. 10, 2010
  74. Another simple example: On both the iPhone and iPad keyboards, the default apostrophe is really the prime mark. You can click-and-hold (at least, you can on the iPhone … not sure about the iPad) to get smart quotes, but it’s a shame that you have to opt-in for those marks.

    This is not limited to the iPad alone, but I must say that it has long bothered me that the default apostrophes, quotation marks, and numerals of many (most?) fonts are still prime marks, double prime marks, and ranging figures, though the proper symbols and figures are available and must be chosen as options. Why not simply include the proper symbols in the proper places on the keyboard to begin with on all fonts, and let the user opt for the less frequently used symbols when necessary?

    Posted by Nipperkin on Apr. 10, 2010
  75. I was surprised by lack of good typography considering how bombastic Jobs is about details like this. It almost feels like typography decisions were rushed.

    We can only hope and pray to Lord Jobs that today’s iPhone 4.0 event will address some of these gaping holes.

    Maybe I missed something but I didn’t see anything in the presentation that addressed any of these issues.

    Posted by Greg on Apr. 10, 2010
  76. TOTALLY! And don’t even get me started on the Mac’s buggy and unreliable support of OpenType control in Apple Pages. Just try choosing alternate glyphs for characters, or changing between the four possible combinations of proportional/lining and old-style/titling numbers, for instance—often an exercise in frustration.

    Posted by gabedamien on Apr. 10, 2010
  77. Great article! I totally agree. Apple comes up with the most ingenious packaging and product designs but does not pay attention to UI typography. That is what I don’t get. And that Marker Felt… it’s the new Comic Sans.
    One thing that still puzzles me is some of the UI features that were quite handy in OS9 (like printing the folder contents of say a data cd directly using ctrl+mousebutton or right mb) were and still are absent in all the versions of OSX. And one thing I’d personally like to see in the future is the option to send a file via email using right mb. Now the option is only found under Finder>Services.

    Posted by Sakari Tiikkaja on Apr. 10, 2010
  78. Well, if you are not aware, iPad supports customs fonts. Now its up-to developers to bring in all the beautiful typography they want.

    Posted by typeman on Apr. 10, 2010
  79. Maybe I missed something but I didn’t see anything in the presentation that addressed any of these issues.

    Yep, I published that wish before the iPhone OS 4 event was held. No new news for typography. Maybe one of the “100 new features? or “1500 new APIs”?

    Posted by Stephen Coles on Apr. 10, 2010
  80. I completely agree with this article. I pay attention to fonts all the time, and I can’t stand it when people use pretty fonts over fonts that are legible. Go ahead and put a fancy font as the title or author of a work. But for the text, PLEASE use something readable! I am currently in high school, and the biggest font annoyance is that the lunch menus are all printed in Bauhaus 93. Sure, print the title in it, but do we really have to try to decipher what we’re eating by using Bauhaus 93 for the small text?
    Anyway, I agree completely with you, the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad needs way better fonts, and from that iBooks screen, those chapters look like they were dropped into Hell, stepped on, and brought back up, only to be thrown back into Hell and brought up again, straight to the iPad’s screen. How is anyone supposed to understand what all the mixed up text means!?!?

    Posted by Gavin Roskamp on Apr. 10, 2010
  81. Yes! The number one reason I don’t want to buy the iPad—Jobs himself isn’t a reader and doesn’t seem to care about the reading experience.
    I’m hating that the iPad’s rendering engine doesn’t support ligatures.

    Posted by David J. on Apr. 10, 2010
  82. I hate to say it – but your 100% correct! My guess is that Jobs has been more focused on industrial design than typography. In fact making matters worse Microsoft has done a great job with the creative marketing associated with the Zune and the interface of the upcoming Windows 7 phone looks amazing.
    As for eBooks I’m quite let down with the entire format. The way it’s setup now reminds me of the early days of HTML – there’s the false assumption that books are just large data dumps of text that need some headers. Yes that’s great for a novel, but it doesn’t cut it for a coffee table book, graphic novel, how to guide or magazine. In fact the CD-ROMs produced by Voyager and the Living Books series created by Broderbund in the 90s are leaps and bounds ahead of what I’m seeing 15 years later.

    Posted by Michael Pinto on Apr. 10, 2010
  83. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your article. It makes me sad however, to think that Apple has left some of these type fundamentals in the back seat to a revolutionary device that is about to change the face of media delivery. For a company like Apple who exudes a design philosophy second to none this is a tragedy. I hope they will take note at criticism like this and address the few but noticeable mistakes on the 1st gen iPad OS. One can only hope that it will get better and better just like the iPhone.

    Posted by Robert-O on Apr. 10, 2010
  84. Unnoticeable yes. But not all users mind the fonts really. Even I don’t mind having limited fonts. Probably a much bigger impact to the iPad since it’s bigger? I dunno.. But thanks for pointing that one out! :)


    Posted by cloudchii on Apr. 10, 2010
  85. I am also a devoted fan but I have to confess that you’re absolutely right about this.

    Posted by Charis Tsevis on Apr. 10, 2010
  86. I’m so with you.

    Posted by Miłosz Bolechowski on Apr. 11, 2010
  87. A great post. I laughed out loud at the EW.

    Posted by Eats Wombats on Apr. 11, 2010
  88. I see your list as minor problems except one: missing handling of Tables and Line Breaks. This is no small matter.

    Posted by Bedriftsbasen Norge on Apr. 11, 2010
  89. Great review – spot on analysis. As you say – it’s 101 and Apple totally dropped the ball. Software is hard work even for companies with billions in the bank.

    Posted by Peter Cranstone on Apr. 11, 2010
  90. As a soon to be published author, independently published, I want my readers to have a good experience and I have done research, albeit just enough to get my book looking nice, that I completely understand your points.
    Yes, Apple does seem to make the decision to maximize profit over maximizing the customer’s experience.
    Now the question is, how does a PDF of a book look?

    Posted by Kevin Cullis on Apr. 11, 2010
  91. Great read. Bad typography always rears its head when it’s there and good typography is inobtrusive and pleasing. Your examples show the jumble and mess on the iPad, that someone should have a scrutinizing look at.

    Posted by Arne on Apr. 11, 2010
  92. Thanks for an extremely interesting article. The iPad is very exciting but I can’t stop thinking about the keynote when Jobs’ seemed to be bluffing about something. It seems likely that many things were left behind for the sake of rushing the product out, hitting the target price point, and making room for future product iterations.
    The landscape and tenor of the digital world is nothing short of fascinating these days.

    Posted by Brian on Apr. 11, 2010
  93. Apple doesn’t walk the talk in regards to fonts with the new iPad. Surprising to say the least.

    Posted by Font Tripper on Apr. 12, 2010
  94. The foibles you mention in 1) and 2) are not entirely Apple’s fault, but limitations of the ePub format for e-books. Kindle books use their own proprietary format.

    Should Apple have licensed this format, or introduced yet another proprietary format of their own?

    Posted by Jim Johnson on Apr. 12, 2010
  95. Jim – It’s certainly true that ePub has a long way to go, but it’s my impression that iBooks is stripping some of the formatting or not supporting all the ePub parameters. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    The layout issues are also due to the narrow column measure in iBook’s landscape orientation that most ePub documents aren’t ready for, but there is also quite a bit of real estate occupied by the silly book simulation graphics in iBooks.

    Posted by Stephen Coles on Apr. 12, 2010
  96. …there is also quite a bit of real estate occupied by the silly book simulation graphics in iBooks.

    In addition to being silly and an unfortunate waste of space, the book simulation is entirely unnecessary. The iPad and iBook are not books; why on earth would we want them to look like one?

    Posted by Nipperkin on Apr. 12, 2010
  97. Apple guru Betty White gives her thoughts on the iPad on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. This video comes with a Surgeon General’s Warning for extreme silliness.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Apr. 12, 2010
  98. Apple has become more of a consumer electronics company than a company that sells to professionals (like they did in the past). So things like typography are probably not very high up on their priority list.

    While they clearly could have made better font choices for the iPad, I think they’re just not putting that much thought into this area. And as rediculous as Marker Felt is, it probably works for the masses. Just look at how people seem to love using Comic Sans in their documents…

    Posted by Tom on Apr. 13, 2010
  99. For details of how an app can include a custom font:


    That doesn’t mean users could get to use a custom font system-wide, but only with one app, or each app that includes it.

    My pet peeve with iPhone/iPad fonts, as a developer, is that it ties my hands as to how usable my interface can be, when I am limited to a small set of fonts. Adding custom fonts for most developers is not easy due to licensing schemes that are either too expensive, or hard to predict.

    Posted by mahboud on Apr. 16, 2010
  100. why don’t you all just give it a rest – you really want to know what the ipad is missing? a balanced review – whether you’re for or against, just stop complaining

    Posted by Magoo on Apr. 17, 2010
  101. And that, dear sir, was the hundredth comment in this record-breaking post. :)

    Posted by Yves Peters on Apr. 17, 2010
  102. You’re looking at the iBook stuff all wrong. Take a look at the original Gutenberg txts. What Apple is doing with all those free txts is nothing short of amazing. No one is manually formatting those books… it’s likely a script, possibly in perl, that reformats those txts on the fly. If you’ve ever tried to read a txt from the Gutenberg Project, you wouldn’t be complaining about iBooks.
    Also, about ragged right margins and justification… Just to make sure I opened a few actual books I have here, and I was right. No one publishes books without forced justification. Take a look on your own bookshelf… most will be solid on the right. Perhaps you’re right that it might be easier on the eyes, but Apple has conformed to what publishers of real books do. If you’re such a typography snob, you’d have known this.
    I stopped reading after these complaints. Yeah, Apple should include some more fonts. But you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    Posted by Chilli on Apr. 18, 2010
  103. about ragged right margins and justification… Just to make sure I opened a few actual books I have here, and I was right. No one publishes books without forced justification.

    It’s true that most printed books use full justification, but they are also produced by professional typesetters using professional typesetting tools that use hyphenation and thoughtfully considered linebreaks.
    Take a look at your books again. You won’t see the spacing issues that you see in iBooks. Because electronic readers are indeed automated, they need either hyphenation or ragged right alignment to avoid these issues.

    Posted by Stephen Coles on Apr. 18, 2010
  104. Very nice and helpful article! There are a lot of reasons not to buy an iPad, thx for sharing those informations!

    Posted by Webstandard-Blog on Apr. 20, 2010
  105. Some very good points. I personally think Helvetica works fine for the UI on the iPhone (I don’t have an iPad yet, ask me in two weeks)… there’s no question there are fonts better suited to screen reading, more versatile, with true italics, and so forth, but keep in mind that before the iPhone, the standard was blocky, digital-looking type and clunky UI design. The Palm Pre is one example of a platform that has improved upon the iPhone formula by putting typography back at the center of the UI, with a custom type family and a more sophisticated use of type across the UI.
    There is really no reason to complain about Notes or the other built-in apps… just go find an alternative on the App Store. There are many better apps out there, for reasons beyond just the typography.
    When it comes to iBooks, however, your point is well-taken. I personally don’t understand why iBooks doesn’t allow embedded type and custom typography on a per-book basis, given that it uses a proprietary format anyway. The technology will certainly improve, and the typographic issues you summarize so well will probably be improved in the future.
    Getting @font-face working in Safari would be great, but given how poor most non-standard typefaces look through Typekit in Windows, the predominant digital platform, I haven’t taken that very seriously yet as a solid typographic option.

    Posted by Paul Ferguson on Apr. 20, 2010
  106. Stephen, thanks for the thoughtful review. I laud your critical approach for its call to typographic progression.
    To those who said to back off on the criticism: Typographic excellence cannot be lost in the digital change blur. The iPad is a technical achievement (and I don’t think Stephen would disagree), but we shouldn’t abandon the push for better type. There is always room for critique. It’s how we get better.
    And Marker Felt? There is no need for this face. Anywhere.

    Posted by Mike on Apr. 20, 2010
  107. The TeX hyphenation and word-spacing algorithm is nearly 30 years old; freely-available implementations exist in pretty much every current programming language. That’s just one way to do text layout with competence. There is no excuse for the ugly unhyphenated full-justification in iBooks. (I’ll excuse Chilli that silly comment: when “actual books” are carefully typeset, it’s easy to miss the odd hyphen which lets a paragraph flow harmoniously, or the hair-spacing in one line that prevents chasms between words in the next.)
    When I saw the promotional videos for the iPad, I assumed that such things were just pre-production kinks to be worked out. When I pointed out the awful page layout, I was told something similar to Watts’ point – that ePub texts are often lazy, after-the-fact conversions, even when works are composed and submitted to the printers in electronic formats.
    Either way, it’s a mess, and even if Apple were to expand its range of screen serifs for iBooks to include typefaces that are proven with body text, the layout engine would still make them look crappy.

    Posted by nick s on Apr. 20, 2010
  108. PostScript and great fonts were a strategic advantage that propelled the classic Mac.
    Now it seems more of an afterthought, a taken-for-granted spouse. I see it as part of the downslide that comes with increased mass appeal. Rather like jettisoning creator codes because there is no “web” standard for them.
    Here’s hoping Apple sells enough iPads to become big enough on the web that they can drive internet standards to support better typography. And that they “get” that fine typography is important even to former Windows users who like Comic Sans.
    Many fine textbooks, manuals, and coffee-table books feature right-ragged text (a fine art in itself). On a wide enough measure, rr is more legible than horrid justification, we can only assume eBooks feature those gaps to seem more “book-like”, and instead are more like a really bad eZine. A good eReader should let you choose.
    And why not TeX? Maybe lack of horsepower to hyphenate and still be snappy-quick.
    I like to think Apple does their small apps mainly as proof of concept and leaves them somewhat unfinished or set to Marker Felt to give 3rd parties room to play. Pages and Keynote are disappointing and astounding in a way that only a $15 app could be. iBook has only just learned to walk.

    Posted by Bret Perry on Apr. 20, 2010
  109. As a book designer, who spends her time carefully adjusting type to have optimal readability and proper editorial style (no bad word breaks, etc.) this is a slap in the face. Most books these days are delivered in PDF format. This preserves fonts, art and design. Why can’t these electronic books work with PDFs and simply have the reader use those, it would avoid all these issues.

    Posted by Maria Fernandez on Apr. 24, 2010
  110. Fantastic article with informed and literate comments.

    Maybe there should be a collection so that Marker can be sent to the same retirement home as ComicSans??

    Posted by john renfrew on May. 8, 2010
  111. Apple. Fix it.

    Posted by e.h. williamson on May. 11, 2010
  112. For font selection in a Note book app consider Notes To Store. Full selection of the available iPad fonts on a page by page basis.

    Posted by Scott Squires on May. 13, 2010
  113. There is more typography bundled with the iPad than the iBook App actually shows. To help Interface-Designers, Art Directors and Software Developers selecting the proper Fonts for their iPad Application I came up with a piece of Software that makes it really easy to explore the Typefaces provided by the iPhone OS: iTalics for iPad. I would be happy if you give it a try and provide some feedback. iTalics is available at the Apple App Store.

    Posted by Marc Scheib on Jun. 3, 2010
  114. Why did Apple remove Arial Unicode MS from the iPad and iPhone 4?

    Posted by Louis on Jun. 9, 2010
  115. When I first began using a Mac in 2007, I was puzzled by the lack of italics for Lucida Grande. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one.

    Posted by Michael L. on Jun. 9, 2010
  116. I need an iPad to do keynote presentations.


    1/If I import an existing (iMac created presi) what does it do to the faces I’ve used

    2/ If I create a keynote presentation ON THE iPad – what are the ‘native’ typefaces I can use


    Posted by Martin Warnes on Jul. 16, 2010
  117. A workaround exists for Marker Felt on Notes – find a note in the desktop version of Mail, edit the font as you would in any other OS X application, and sync to iPhone. The spacing and font size has to be just right so that it’ll fit on the lines in Notes and it doesn’t work with every font, but there are some sans-serifs which are supported. Tedious, but it’s there.

    Posted by A on Aug. 13, 2010
  118. “Unlike Apple, Amazon clearly did their research here. PMN Caecilia isn’t well known outside the typorati, but it’s one of the more readable typefaces ever designed and its low stroke contrast and slab serifs serve the Kindle very well.”

    Does anyone have a reference to back up the readability statement?

    Posted by Christopger Dean on Aug. 17, 2010
  119. And I’ll be the first to point out my own typo.

    Posted by Christopher Dean on Aug. 17, 2010
  120. Could someone let me in on the big secret about what fonts are standard to Mobile Safari in iOS4? I’m generally pretty clever with The Google, but have struck out on this one. And what is their schema for font substitution?

    Posted by Sam Pratt on Aug. 29, 2010
  121. I’m glad to read I’m not the only one who is less than completely happy with the user experience.

    I do understand there’s no pleasing everyone. But jailbreaking an iphone just to install a font feels like having to break into your own house because the builder has gone off with the keys.

    Posted by cjk on Oct. 6, 2010
  122. Does anyone have a reference to back up the readability statement?

    Posted by nisa sanjaya on Dec. 1, 2010
  123. I was inspired by your column, Stephen, and wrote about the evolution of iOS typography — how it is addressed by Apple, Amazon and Google on the iPhone: http://blog.angoulvant.net/2010/12/06/ebook-typography/

    Posted by Stephan on Dec. 7, 2010
  124. You completed a number of nice points there. I did a search on the subject and found nearly all folks will consent with your blog.

    Posted by Lynsey Mayze on Dec. 7, 2010
  125. You are now aware that the font size and line height on this site is too small…

    Posted by Patrick on Apr. 6, 2011
  126. Touch, but very few of them are very interesting or practical for modern web and app design.

    Posted by kabin on Sep. 12, 2011
  127. I couldn’t agree more about the lack of font options there is on the ipad, lets hope they resolve this with the next update.

    Posted by John on Dec. 2, 2011
  128. This week, Apple released an update for iBooks that includes several new fonts (Athelas, Charter, Iowan (Old Style?), and Seravek). But still no adjustment of leading or line length. And still no way to get rid of the ridiculous page-flipping animation and book-style background image.

    Posted by Matthew Butterick on Dec. 8, 2011
  129. Writing the follow-up article as we speak. ; )

    Posted by Yves Peters on Dec. 8, 2011
  130. I suppose all this means I’m not going mad. Trying to create some work with some interesting fonts. Surely when paying so much for an iPad you would think that typography would be included. I don’t want to carry a mac book pro around with me. Oh well back to my daughter’s little laptop.

    Posted by Jess on Mar. 14, 2012
  131. What the iPad is Missing (No, it’s not a Camera) | The FontFeed http://www.vbmrubipr400.blogspot.соm

    Posted by Cettypose on Jun. 12, 2012
  132. For everybody who is sick and tired of not being able to use custom fonts in their documents on their iOS devices I might have a solution.

    I ran into similar problems and took this as my motivation to develop “AnyFont”. With this little app you are able to install all the fonts you need for your presentations on your iPhone or iPad. So when your are using Calibri in your presentation and get the error message after importing it on your iPad you can use AnyFont to install Calibri on your device which makes the error message go away and lets you use Calibri in your presentation.

    Let me know how you like it!


    Posted by Florian Schimanke on Mar. 3, 2014

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