PDFs are media, too!

While I have gotten quite moved in and adjusted to my iPhone, one thing has come to leave me wanting. Apple has long advertised iTunes as the “hub” for your personal media. You can rip or purchase your music, shows, and movies and sync them easily to your shiny new iPhone or iPod with ease. It’s quite impressive, in fact, how seamless it all works. PDF files, on the otherhand, aren’t considered first-class citizens in the media world (at least how Apple views it).iTunes allows you to add Adobe PDF files to your library and, in fact, provides many of the liner notes for iTunes Music Store purchased albums in PDF format. Unfortunately, they do not get synced to your iPhone or iPod Touch even when set up to do so. Even stranger is the support that the iPhone has to view PDF files when attached to an email message. So, you have a device that supports the format, a program that also supports the format, but a disconnect between the two.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not viewing the 480×320 screen of the iPhone and iPod Touch to be the ideal presentation of “printed” media, but I see significant value in the possibility of having all sorts of “portable” documents with me in my pocket. Off the top of my head, I can think of several:

  • A dump of my iTunes library to confirm I don’t already have a song I’m about to purchase on the iTunes WiFi music store.
  • A list of secure info (e.g., credit card numbers) if they can be encrypted.
  • Technical reference to be used when a book or network is available.
  • Flash cards or other information to be referred to frequently.

I’m hoping that the disconnect is just an oversight and a future update of either/both the iPhone or iTunes will resolve this. The screen is quite decent on the iPhone and if you format a page properly, it would be very readable and go one more step further to becoming the “one device” that it is quickly approaching.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.