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Both apps are free and iBooks 2 will offer textbooks for $14.99 or less

Apple announced that it will reinvent the textbook at its education event this morning at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

Apple plans to do this through two brand-new apps: iBook Author, which is Mac software that will allow textbook writers and publishers to create textbooks for the iPad, and iBooks 2, which is the sequel to the iBooks app that will provide students with new study options like note-taking.

The new apps were demonstrated by Apple iWork Vice President Roger Rosner and Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller. Traditional textbooks were described as heavy and outdated, and Apple is looking to change that by bringing school books to the digital age.

"There is no reason that kids today should use the same tools they did in 1950," said Schiller. "One thing we hear louder than anything else is student engagement, inspiring kids to want to discover and learn. That's why we get excited to see student reactions to iPads in the classroom."

Apple will partner with textbook publishers like Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to fulfill the new textbook category of the iBooks 2 app. Those three publishers combined make up about 90 percent of the textbooks out there, meaning the books available on iBooks 2 will be relevant to student needs.

The textbooks on iBooks 2 will be high school level books, and will be available for $14.99 or less at launch. These prices are expected to increase as the selection expands. The app, however, is free.

IBooks 2 also offers the ability to highlight passages, view videos and images, look up words in the dictionary, create flashcards,  and view 3D models.

As for iBooks Author, which is also a free app available through the iTunes store, authors will have complete freedom to lay out graphics and text for their textbook designs.

"In like five minutes flat, we created an ebook and deployed it to the iPad," said Schiller. "I hope you find that as inspiring and empowering as I do."

Students, authors and publishers aren't the only ones who can benefit from Apple's latest educational offerings. Apple also announced iPhone and iPad apps for iTunes U, which allows instructors to share videos, create syllabi and post notes for their classes.

About 1.5 million iPads are already used in school programs throughout the United States. There are over 20,000 education-related apps for the iPad, which will likely only increase from this point forward.

Sources: The Verge, Apple Insider



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High School Level Books
By Malhavoc on 1/19/2012 12:24:10 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure about the US, but I never paid for a high school textbook in Canada. Sure I had to return them, but unless they have college/university books I couldn't see this catching on like they want.

Unless of course there is someway for school systems to mass buy and distribute keys. Suppose though if there is a will, there is a way.




RE: High School Level Books
By tdktank59 on 1/19/2012 12:33:40 PM , Rating: 2
Typically you had to buy the books or rent them. The school want money for everything and its a huge amount. I can go to amazon typically and get the same book (still brand new) for 1/2 the price if not less.


RE: High School Level Books
By acer905 on 1/19/2012 12:57:54 PM , Rating: 4
Not sure where you're from but in Michigan books were only paid for by the students if there was "excessive" damage at the end of the year. Keep the book in good shape and it just gets sent to the next kid in line


RE: High School Level Books
By tastyratz on 1/19/2012 2:05:13 PM , Rating: 2
I think people are confusing direct with indirect costs. You might DIRECTLY pay for a book if you specifically damage it, but you INDIRECTLY purchased said book with your tax dollars beforehand anyways.
Any program to digitize and minimize book costs I find in favor of. Whether or not high schoolers can be trusted with ipads enough to offer a true ROI, or if ipad repairs/replacements/upgrades end up costing more than books I do not know.

Now if only these books were made available to the kindle etc. it might be a little more in public interest.


RE: High School Level Books
By V-Money on 1/19/2012 2:20:01 PM , Rating: 3
I agree, except for the issue that you are still paying for the physical textbooks indirectly and now you can pay even more money directly for these digital copies. I was excited until I read that it was only for high school books (I know it will eventually be for college level, but for a much higher cost, and kindle is heading that direction anyways).

I could see the promise behind this, I would definitely have no issue paying to get out of carrying all those heavy books, but I do have an issue with paying the huge amount of money on a Apple device I'd rather not have since I already have a kindle and a tablet with kindle on it.


RE: High School Level Books
By tayb on 1/19/2012 2:21:45 PM , Rating: 2
Oh you pay for them just not directly. Local property taxes fund the schools which funds the books.


RE: High School Level Books
By Malhavoc on 1/19/2012 6:35:51 PM , Rating: 3
Of course I know HS textbooks are paid through taxes. Thing to note that in HS most generally do not pay them.

Either way, it is paying for something you wouldn't normally pay for or paying twice.


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