Until recently Apple has owned audiobook content on the iPhone and iPod Touch. The only way to load content on these devices was through iTunes. There were two unfortunate requirements that followed, making this less than desireable. First you needed a USB connection to iTunes and second you were forced to sync with only one computer. The requirement to sync was especially onerous. It prevented loading audiobooks from any other computer in effect tethering you to probably your home computer.
Audible released an Audible specific app for the iPhone in July that for their site and content allowed downloading any audiobooks from your Audible Library directly to your iPhone/iPod Touch with just a Wi-Fi connection.
Audible upgraded their servers in late July to support higher speed downloads. You can now download an audiobook in just a few minutes with a good Wi-Fi connection. Unfortunately their App automatically downloads the Enhanced Format which is a little over twice as large as the standard Format 4. This of course takes twice as long to download and requires twice as much space on your iPhone/iPod Touch device. Audible is aware of the issue and is looking at a software update to correct it. The download speed between iTunes and the App is nearly the same otherwise. Audible created their own player with features similar to the iPod player for the iPhone/iPod Touch.
The main features offered by the App are:
1) My Library: You can view all of your books in the Audible Library, Refresh if necessary.
This includes a view of your iPod library, see Figure 1.
2) News & Events: Message area for Audible that includes coming soon, support messages etc. Figure 2.
3) Listening Stats: Not very useful. It shows hours listened to, # books in library plus some fun with badges.
4) Settings: Not much here, yet. Needs to include download Format control.
5) The Player: This is an iPod like player with a good set of features, see Figure 3.
Figure 1. Figure 2.
You can now buy a book from Audible on your iPhone/iPod Touch Safari Browser and download it directly with the App. This is especially useful when you are travelling and works well from most Wi-Fi zones.
The App is free and installs easily. The interface is easy to use and has only a few small glitches which should be fixed in the next release. The worst of these is that the player will on occasion simply shut-down with no warning. The audio restarts where you left off when you restart the app. This has occured two to four times on every book we have listened to on the App player.
The App of course also works on the iPad but only has the low resolution iPhone interface and has no iPad high resolution version at this time.