Apple Reinvents Textbooks/Publishing with iBook Author, iBooks 2
January 19, 2012 11:49 AM
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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 Traditional textbooks were described as heavy and outdated, and Apple is looking to change that by bringing school books to the digital age.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.
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1/19/2012 2:30:37 PM
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.
"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer
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