PDF In-Depth

PDF on the iPhone: The first swipe

Conclusion

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PDF+ 1.10, by mBrain Software

Verdict: A solid PDF viewer, PDF+ offers local storage and a few extras.

Price: $2.99 USD



















Feature Rating Notes
Downloads PDFs to iPhone 3 Download from the web, share via WiFi
Swipe to turn pages 2 As iPhone default
File storage 4 Files may be downloaded and stored locally.
Maintain files/folders on iPhone 3 Store files or folders, rename option
Pan & zoom controls 2 No tap to unzoom, worse than plain iPhone
PDF Reflow 0 None attempted
Address right-to-left languages 0 None attempted
Use links 5 Highlights, follows links to URLs and other pages
Find text 2 Simple search, no "next", "previous" etc.
Manage display orientation 0 None attempted
Use PDF bookmarks 2 One level only
Goto page number 4 Offers standard keypad, reports total pages
Copy text to clipboard 0 None attempted
Document Information 4 Read-only access
Documentation 1 Documentation in PDF, but in US letter page-sizee.

PDFReader 1.1, by iTech Development Systems

Verdict: For all the fake Adobe graphics, this application sure doesn't work like Adobe Reader.

Price: $1.99 USD

Feature Rating Notes
Downloads PDFs to iPhone 3 Downloads from the web, uploads via WiFi
Swipe to turn pages 2 As iPhone default
File storage 4 Files may be downloaded and stored locally.
Maintain files/folders on iPhone 2 Store files or in folders, lame interface
Pan & zoom controls 3 About the same as the iPhone
PDF Reflow 0 None attempted
Address right-to-left languages 0 None attempted
Use links 0 None attempted
Find text 1 Simple search, no "next", "previous" etc. No highlight, extra clicks involved
Manage display orientation 0 As iPhone
Use PDF bookmarks 0 Can create iPhone bookmarks
Goto page number 1 Offers standard keypad in portrait only, no page total
Copy text to clipboard 0 None attempted
Document Information 0 None attempted
Documentation 0 None provided

Conclusion

Good iWare's Good Reader is head and shoulders above the other applications in this survey. A few more pdf-handling iPhone apps have shown up on the AppStore since I blew $20 USD buying the above-mentioned crop, and I'll be testing the Good Reader against them in a forthcoming article.

Clearly, there's a lot of scope for PDF applications on the iPhone. Some features that offer real potential for business (such as the ability to digitally sign a PDF) simply aren't available yet. Of course, digital signatures have yet to take the world by storm in any event, so perhaps iPhone developers don't yet feel the call. I see it differently -- if users could fill forms and approve final PDF documents from their iPhones, I tend to think that would offer more value than the price of a (cheap) cup of coffee.

All applications surveyed may be downloaded from Apple's AppStore.

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Two Passwords Are Better Than One: The Low-Down On PDF Security

For people who don't spend their time looking at PDF files in text editors*, PDF security is a sometimes misunderstood beast.

For example, those document restrictions that PDF files sometimes have -- no Printing, Content Copying, Page Extraction, etc -- are essentially useless unless the PDF also has a User Password.

January 09, 2014
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