Pages '12 could be Apple's secret textbook weapon

Pages '12 could be Apple's secret textbook weapon

Summary: The consensus is that Apple will launch iPad textbooks today. While the consumption angle is obvious, it's the creation part where things get interesting.


Pages '12 could be Apple's secret textbook weaponThe suspense is palatable ahead of Apple’s education announcement today at 10am at the Guggenheim in New York City.

CNET: Live-blogging from the Guggenheim

In what's probably the worst kept secret in Cupertino, Apple is expected to announce a partnership with major textbook publishers to produce, publish, distribute and/or sell digital textbooks to the academic market.

The consensus is that Apple will do for textbooks what it did for music, movies, TV, books and magazines: make them digital with an amazing user experience.

While the delivery vehicle is obvious (duh, iPad), it's the creation tools where things get interesting.

Consider this:

On Tuesday The Wall Street Journal reported that Roger Rosner, Apple's vice president of productivity applications (a.k.a. iWork), is "closely involved in developing the new digital-textbook service."

On Wednesday AppleInsider reported that "Bliss" (the project's code-name) will include software tools that will allow publishers to make textbooks more interactive.


iWork '09 includes a word-processor/page layout application called Pages and one of its lesser-known features is that it can create EPUB files. EPUB is a free and open e-book standard by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) that is supported by the iPad (in iBooks) and every other ebook reader on the market.

iWork '09 has been languishing for years without a major update and is long overdue for a refresh.

Since iWork '09 has supported EPUB for three years, and Apple's iWork chief is spearheading its "Bliss" textbook project, it stands to reason that Apple's new textbook creation tool could be Pages '12.

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple demonstrates Pages '12 with EPUB 3 support (and hopefully iWork '12) in New York today. In addition, I also expect Apple to announce textbook rentals (like Amazon did in July 2011) and iBooks 2.0 which will finally work on the Mac.

Topics: CXO, Collaboration, Software

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  • RE: Pages '12 could be Apple's secret textbook weapon

    Too bad you didn't publish your speculations several weeks ago. Only a short time remains if your iWork update makes the cut. Interesting conjectures on your part, though.
  • Methinks you may be onto something

    There has to be some reason why iWork hasn't had much love lately. Apple loves to release things with a context in which they can be used. What better context than having the tools to produce e-books with new deals with publishers in place.
    A Grain of Salt
    • RE: Pages '12 could be Apple's secret textbook weapon

      @A Grain of Salt I assume you're talking about iWork for Mac. iWork for iOS has gotten updates on a regular basis. To add to that, it's been awhile since iLife for Mac has gotten some love has well.
  • Wow

    Even with a revolutionary update, I dumped iWorks or MSOffice many moons ago.
    • I dumped both

      Laraine Anne Barker
    • RE: Pages '12 could be Apple's secret textbook weapon

      @rhonin - I dumped MS Office with Windows back in 1997. I now use NeoOffice on Mac. Played with the trial version of iWorks. It was okay. I prefer the Open Office for Mac - it handles all the formats, formulas and file sizes I need. And it's free (well, I did give them 2 5$ donations after using it for a year). NeoOffice is a great product and I can read and send all MS Office format documents without issue.
      The Danger is Microsoft
  • RE: Pages '12 could be Apple's secret textbook weapon

    1) The price of textbooks is unlikely to fall (For starters Apple is going to want 30%)
    2) You're not going to be able to sell your textbook when you have finished.
    3) You can't chip in and buy a textbook between a few of you.
    4) You can't borrow or lend a textbook from your friend
    5) Nothing beats being able to flick from page to page in a textbook.
    6) The screen quality, despite being all "retina" or some other bullcrap is nothing like as good as actual print edition.
    7) A book doesn't require charging up.
    8) I can use multiple books at any one time.
    9) I can buy second hand books.

    Tell me, what benefits are there for a consumer of educational textbooks. If you tell me "interactivity" I will hit you - hard.
    • RE: Pages '12 could be Apple's secret textbook weapon

      @Bozzer <br>Good points all, I think a benefit of digital textbooks is the ability to perform searches to find specific content. I'm really hoping that at some point companies like Apple and Amazon will allow you to resell the eBook that you is rightfully yours.
      • RE: Pages '12 could be Apple's secret textbook weapon

        @bezetam wanna sell eBook? it is a digital copy dude...can you sell your mp3 songs? You cant.... :)...Things change....I think this is a good change...Still, this doesn't mean that the paper back will die...There are Billions of people on this planet who cannot afford a tablet or a computer. So don't worry.
    • RE: Pages '12 could be Apple's secret textbook weapon


      I think the argument (from the students perspective) is that an 1/2"x7"x10" device is easier to carry, read and search than an actual book (and many things including libraries are going digital anyways). There was some whining a while back about students having to carry many books (cumulative weight) and pens, paper, etc. while these days they also have laptops, tablets and other digital devices.

      When I was in college, I carried several books (took full loads) and also went to the library and did research, but that was almost 2 decades ago. These days, the students are more tech savvy and do research on-line. I have also found that my own library of technical books has shrunk considerably when I acquired a tablet (not Apple) and found many of the texts that I kept around in digital format (thus reducing physical storage space).

      I seem to remember some news report a while back about the quantity of books that were being carried by students at places like UC Berkeley, M.I.T., and the like, of which this would aim to reduce. The students are already using laptops in classes.
    • Being Abe to grab an image of a crystal in my chemistry text

      And rotate and zoom it would have been a godsend. Don't knock interactivity.
    • RE: Pages '12 could be Apple's secret textbook weapon

      @Bozzer - You have me convinced. This would have to be structured so that you get a free digital copy when you buy the paper, and the option to get a discounted digital copy if you already have the paper. Digital textbooks are no replacement for paper (unless paper is not available), but it would make a fabulous companion.
      • RE: Pages '12 could be Apple's secret textbook weapon

        @scH4MMER Well, one would assume it would, at least for the immediate future, work just like iTunes. That is, once you buy it, it is associated with your account. You can delete your copy, no problem, it's still on the iCloud servers, no problem, no issue.
    • RE: Pages '12 could be Apple's secret textbook weapon

      Wake up Bozzer. This is 2012 and textbooks are stale, there was no change in 200 years. It is time for something new.

      I realized how bad some textbooks are when I watched a science series on the Discovery Channel. I remembered this stuff from grade 11 or 12 but I never understood it. The show explained in one hour what my science teacher (I hope you burn in hell) and text books could not explain in one year.

      Imagine some innovative, interactive text books, they could revolutionize education. What are you afraid of...
  • RE: Pages '12 could be Apple's secret textbook weapon

    The Guggenheim is closed on Thursdays, but Apple is special and get to use it on that day. They wouldn't let me in on a Thursday. Hmph.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • And mayhaps

      Any other day that ends in the letter 'y.'
    • RE: Pages '12 could be Apple's secret textbook weapon

      @Loverock Davidson-

      Is this the real Loverock? Or just a good parody?
  • RE: Pages '12 could be Apple's secret textbook weapon

    So Crapple is trying to hijack the childerns in school again. The Feds should be investigating Crapple for monopoly abuses. I don't think that Crapple shoud be allowed to abuse its monopoly postition in ipads, by forcing parent to buy them for school. The children would be better served if the schools required Windows 8 tablets, as the will last all day as opposed to Crapple's 3 hours.
    • I'm a glutton

      So, which monopoly on what does Apple have?

      Note, it's not the same as your monopoly position with the saddest post so far today.
      • There will always be people posting crap on this blog

        Just ignore them; they aren't worth your time and effort.
        Laraine Anne Barker