Apple announces iBooks 2, Textbooks, iBooks Author

Summary:Textbooks will integrate not only portability but interactiveness to bring a whole new level of engagement to K-12 students and above. Authors will have total freedom in what they can offer, from animations to traditional graphics and text.

Apple today announced its plans to "reinvent the textbook."

At a live event in New York City, the Cupertino-based giant revealed a new textbook experience for the iPad by reinventing iBooks.

Textbooks will integrate not only portability but interactiveness to bring a whole new level of engagement to K-12 students and above. Authors will have total freedom in what they can offer, from animations to traditional graphics and text.

iBooks 2 is the next-generation content store for e-books, and is available today. These educational, student-oriented e-books will appear in the iBooks 2 under the new heading: Textbooks. This section of the iBookstore will include high school-level books, and more in due time, priced at $14.99 or less.

Apple is working with publishers and partners, including Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt -- as previously rumored -- to enabled cheaper, more accessible e-book content. Books will always remain up to date, including revised copies. Students will also keep their copies forever.

Phil Schiller, Apple's vice-president of worldwide marketing, took to the stage early in the proceedings. He discussed the challenges facing education, and how Apple technology is used by teachers and students alike.

"There are over 20,000 education applications built specifically for the iPad," Schiller said. He revealed that there are now more than 1.5 million iPads in schools, colleges and universities.

"The end-user student experience will have "super-fast, super-fluid navigation", he added.

He noted that: "90 percent of textbooks are made available" by the partnerships.

Apple is also rolling out iBooks Author, giving ordinary people the tools to create these e-books. It will be available for the Mac, and is available today. The layout is easy, and the creation process is simple, giving a what-you-see approach to educators and students alike, to create engaging e-books.

It has a iWork-feel about the software, allowing users who are already versed in Keynote and Pages the ability to jump right in. But while it is designed for the lay-person, those who have programming knowledge can also implement their own code into e-books, alongside text and graphics. It also supports HTML5.

Apple is making publishing directly to the iBookstore simple. Created e-books can be viewed and previewed on the iPad first, and then published directly to the iBookstore.

iBooks Author is free.

Running rumors and speculation:

Topics: Apple


Zack Whittaker is a writer-editor for ZDNet, and sister sites CNET and CBS News. He is based in the New York newsroom. His PGP key is: EB6CEEA5.

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