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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 Traditional textbooks were described as heavy and outdated, and Apple is looking to change that by bringing school books to the digital age.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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The College Textbook Companies Will Oppose This
By Arsynic on 1/19/2012 1:10:31 PM , Rating: 2
Textbooks for $15??? Hell no, these guys want to keep charging $200 for a book that's only good for a semester before version 2 comes out. This kills the resale value of version 1 and lets them keep charging $200 for their glossy picture books.




By dajeepster on 1/19/2012 1:45:04 PM , Rating: 3
exactly... and now you won't be able to sell the books back.. fvckers.... -_-


By Denigrate on 1/19/2012 1:52:21 PM , Rating: 2
The universities must all get a kick back as the current set up for college text books is a total abuse of students. Many have a hard time affording them, hence all the college graduates in deep trouble with student loans.


By kattanna on 1/20/2012 10:18:55 AM , Rating: 2
yep. some books i can understand wanting the latest editions like for the sciences, but math? that really annoyed me having to buy a brand new book for algebra or geometry because like the intermediate algebra teacher who actually gave us old used text books said.. this math hasnt changed since before you were born.


By Flunk on 1/20/2012 10:47:55 AM , Rating: 2
They will not be able to resist the power.. of the dark side.

I'm serious, there are lots of profits in digital distribution because of lack of upfront costs so if the big publishers don't jump on board they risk missing out entirely to new startups. Plus it kills the resale market, which they hate.


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