One of the promises that Tim Cook made in his quick demonstration of iBooks3 last Tuesday was support for MathML. The example he showed was created with iBooks Author, and since I'm still not a convert, I tried a Math textbook not created with iBA as soon as I could after downloading iBooks3.
And was disappointed.
Here's a screenshot that I took with iBooks3 on iOS5:
Notice that the alignment is off, and several characters cannot be properly displayed and so are shown with empty boxes instead. Icks.
So I wondered if there was something magic (or tricky) about the way iBooks Author creates the MathML. But everything I heard said that wasn't the case.
I figured out the answer yesterday. iBooks 3 needs iOS6 to support MathML.
Here is the same section of the book (though now slightly repaginated), after upgrading to iOS6 (but with the exact same version of iBooks3):
Of course, the beauty of MathML is that the equations are just text, and thus can be made bigger or smaller to suit the reader. When I bump up the text size, the equation maintains its beautiful formatting:
MathML, like Asian language support, is one of the key features that make EPUB3 such an important standard. Without MathML, there are no math or science textbooks.
I hear there are other new features in iBooks3 dependent on iOS6. I will continue to highlight them here. If you subscribe to this blog, I'll send my new updates right to your mailbox.