Print 39 comment(s) - last by omgwtf8888.. on Jan 24 at 2:56 PM

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 Traditional textbooks were described as heavy and outdated, and Apple is looking to change that by bringing school books to the digital age.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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RE: Reinvent?
By aliasfox on 1/19/2012 1:31:53 PM , Rating: 2
I hope you realize you can get the Kindle app on iOS as well, right? Not to mention the Kindle market is pretty much the same business model as the iTunes Store...

I also hope you realize that Apple's had the original iBooks app since the iPad came out?

What Apple was showing was the interactive functionality - as far as I know, current ebook standards are very similar in functionality to paper books, and Apple wants to take a stab at changing that.

Not sure if it'll take off, but I'm pretty sure I would've prefered to have $15 textbooks for some of my classes - especially if they're only secondary texts (if you're only referencing it for two classes, do you really need me to pay $80 for it?)

RE: Reinvent?
By quiksilvr on 1/19/2012 1:48:34 PM , Rating: 1
1) My point was that this was nothing new, and iBooks came out after Kindle store.
2) Kindle had an electronic textbook store for months. They even have textbook rental:
3) Apple isn't doing anything different and just offering HIGH SCHOOL textbooks that most schools provide for free anyways.

RE: Reinvent?
By tayb on 1/19/2012 2:26:21 PM , Rating: 3
Did you even read the article or anything about this feature before coming on here to toot the Android horn and bash Apple? I would be willing to bet you read a paragraph, at most, of the article and did ZERO background research before coming to a conclusion.

1. A store that sells books would not be something new. Apple already has a book store and a Kindle app. This application is not just a book store.
2. Both companies have had textbook stores. This is NOT just a textbook store.
3. High school textbooks are not free and they are not routinely available in a digital or interactive format. Do you think publishing companies simply give books away to high schools? No, you pay taxes of some sort and that funds the books.

RE: Reinvent?
By quiksilvr on 1/19/2012 3:21:37 PM , Rating: 1
It's actually more Tiffany bashing. There is no reinvention or anything new to the table being brought here. Highlighting, footnotes, links to videos and images and links to 3D models (holy crap I read it before making a comment! How about that?!) are all things provided by Kindle's eTextbooks. And Kindle provides COLLEGE LEVEL textbooks, and not just high school limitations.

It's not a reinvention, its a sequel. Reinvention is like a tire wheel that doesn't need air.

RE: Reinvent?
By osalcido on 1/19/2012 5:27:38 PM , Rating: 1
Toot the android horn?? Kindle is.available on android and ios and its own line of kindles ereaders... What on earth are you smoking? You're defending apple as if it were your child bringing home a smiley face on its report card.

RE: Reinvent?
By aliasfox on 1/19/2012 2:30:37 PM , Rating: 2
Kindle had books before Apple had iBooks, no arguments there, but the difference with iBooks 2 is that Apple isn't just trying to give you paper books on a screen. If all you have is (essentially) scanned pages from a book, then you're right - the ebook version offers no benefit over the state-provided free copy.

iBooks 2 is trying to update that paradigm with much more interaction, such as embedded videos and objects that can be manipulated, as well as quizes that can be taken directly within the application.

Note taking functionality is included in the form of taking in-text highlights and putting them in separate notes, as well as creation of flash cards like many people often do in real life.

Keynote presentations (Apple's version of PPT) can be embedded in textbooks, allowing for lazier teachers to have stock presentations ready to share with the class - not that I'm a huge fan of that, a teacher should be able to add context and engage the class, not regurgitate what the student's supposed to read... but I digress.

It's designed more as an end-to-end solution rather than just a 'book replacement' tool. Whether or not it's successful/useful remains to be seen. If this were merely sales of books (which Apple/Amazon/B&N already do), I doubt Apple would've dedicated an entire hour to talking about it.

RE: Reinvent?
By TonyK58 on 1/19/2012 3:14:17 PM , Rating: 2
There's no such thing as a free textbook. Someone is paying for it.

RE: Reinvent?
By xti on 1/19/2012 5:40:13 PM , Rating: 2
offer for free? you must not live in a good neighborhood. Just cuz you dont get an invoice...

RE: Reinvent?
By Tony Swash on 1/19/2012 7:13:00 PM , Rating: 2
Whether Apple has done anything different or new with this initiative will proved very easily and empirically. If this leads to a big rise in the quality and quantity of digital textbooks, if it substantially increases the use if digital textbooks by students, if it changes the way education is delivered, if it changes the textbook industry: then it will be something new.

Anything that improves education is a big plus I think. Let's hope this succeeds in doing that.

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