Apple education event: Winners and losers

Apple education event: Winners and losers

Summary: With Apple's announcement just out the door, we take a look at some of those who benefit greatly from today's event, and a look at some of those who might suffer as a result.

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Apple today announced its next-generation iBooks 2 for the iPad, which will include Textbooks for students to access engaging, high-quality and interactive content. Apple also announced the iBooks Author application for Mac that allows teachers, educators, publishers and students alike to create e-books from an iWork-style interface.

Considering that the run-up to the announcement was fraught with concern for the publishing industry, who will win and lose out from today's announcement? Will someone please think of the children?!

Winners:

Publishers: Who thought the publishing model was dead? By saddling up closer to the publishers, Apple gains a greater spread of material to sell. Though it wasn't mentioned, Apple will presumably still take a 30 percent cut (or less; we are talking about the education sector after all).

The publishing industry also gets to stay in business. They want to move out into the digital market, Apple wants to take a cut -- therefore both win.

Rich schools: Many schools are lucky enough to have iPad devices, through state-sponsored grants and to some extent, help from Apple directly. Also, schools with the socio-economic capability to build and fund expensive Mac labs will be able to benefit from iBooks Author to create the content they wish, and even sell it on the iBooks store to other students and educators - potentially to make a buck or five.

Losers:

Amazon: As the fierce opponent in the publishing race, Amazon has just taken a massive slap in the face from Apple. While Amazon buys books in wholesale, Apple takes an agency 30 percent cut, making the deal seemingly fair but more balanced in the favor of the author. While comparing each respective platform, it is not entirely clear who has the greater scope, but this adds more pressure on Amazon to compromise with its authors.

Windows users: There is no iBooks Author for Windows, cutting out a massive majority of schools and students in the process. Considering that Windows still commands at least 85 percent of the global market share, and the fact that PCs are still cheap and Mac OS X doesn't run on PCs, it cuts out a hefty portion of Windows-running schools.

Poor schools: Today's announcement makes the iPad so much more appealing. Over the long run, it will offer engaging, entertaining and up-to-date content. Communities, struggling with budget cuts, are trying to retain teachers and don't have the funding to buy iPads. They will not be able to take advantage of its benefits. Some schools would be lucky to get one iPad per institution, let alone per class.

There's no doubt that making textbooks for students is made easier by iBooks Author, but iPads will cost schools tens of thousands of dollars in the short term. Apple will need to consider subsidizing the iPad to poorer schools, or at least opening up the platform to iPod touch devices for a cheaper alternative.

Related:

Running rumours and speculation:

Topics: Security, Apple, Enterprise Software

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83 comments
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  • Hopefully students in the long run

    The cost of hard copy text books is very high in many cases. Hopefully a robust new distribution platform can help lower that and improve the learning experience.
    psquared007
    • Who needs iBook when you have a free PDF reader already?

      This idea you'd have to pay 500$ to Apple for an iPad and then 30% royalty fee for each book to get educated is pretty lame.
      LBiege
      • Obviously you don't get it

        How many free text books have you read with your free PDF reader, duh!
        @LBiege
        GoPower
      • Ouch!

        @LBiege
        That puts it well above the hardback textbook cost to the schools.
        Now add that to parents.

        Double ouch!
        rhonin
      • RE: Apple education event: Winners and losers

        @LBiege $499 plus the cost of the e-books will work out less than the cost of text books over a 3 year period. Add in the advantages of a full featured tablet and it is more than obvious it works out to be a better, cheaper solution.

        Your point was?
        The Danger is Microsoft
      • RE: Apple education event: Winners and losers

        @LBiege This model will not work for a number of reasons. First is cost. The iPad itself is very expensive and what happens if it breaks or stops working? Can you easily share one iPad among several students? Would students be allowed to take them home? What about reading long textbooks on that type of display? What about wireless access? Will they need both 3G and wifi? Who pays for that? And what about simple logistical stuff like enough electrical outlets for everyone to be able to connect they iPad in class. If not there will also be students with iPads that don't have enough charge to last.<br><br>Second, because of all these reasons, the educational technology inequities will only increase between rich and poor schools too.
        mrxxxman
      • RE: Apple education event: Winners and losers

        @The Danger is Microsoft FYI, the iPad is not a full featured tablet. What about on-going maintenance costs and technical support? You'll need an increased technical support staff to deal with implementation and maintenance. That's not going to happen especially in poor schools.
        mrxxxman
    • RE: Apple education event: Winners and losers

      @GoPower You can get a number of free books through the Kindle Amazon app. Many classic books are available. In high school, many of those are assigned as textbooks in literature classes for example.
      mrxxxman
  • RE: Apple education event: Winners and losers

    So when I graduate, can I keep the book?
    Droid.Incredible
    • RE: Apple education event: Winners and losers

      @Droid.Incredible YES... yours forver as a download like songs and videos.. no need to ever back up again.
      Hasam1991
      • RE: Apple education event: Winners and losers

        @Hasam1991 Can I sell the ebook to the next student (like in real life)?
        Droid.Incredible
      • RE: Apple education event: Winners and losers

        @Droid.incredible
        Probably not, but then since publishers release new editions every year anyway, nobody can use the old books much of the time anyway.
        Tigertank
    • RE: Apple education event: Winners and losers

      @Droid.Incredible
      And more to the point can I sell it to someone who takes the same course next semester like I've always done with hard copy textbooks? Not likely possible in the "walled garden."
      bunkport
  • RE: Apple education event: Winners and losers

    [i]Windows users: There is no iBooks Author for Windows, cutting out a massive majority of schools and students in the process.[/i]
    Just the opposite. Without having iBooks for Microsoft Windows the author and Apple will lose out. You said it yourself, Microsoft Windows has 85% of the market share. That is 85% of the people Apple cannot sell books to.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • RE: Apple education event: Winners and losers

      @Loverock Davidson- Correction, that's a segment that cannot create the books to sell. Windows authors make no money from the iPad market. But they can still buy the best tablet on the market and reap the benefits of low cost e-books. <br><br>Face it, NO ONE wants Windows shills like you creating e-books for the iPad!
      The Danger is Microsoft
      • RE: Apple education event: Winners and losers

        @The Danger is Microsoft Wake up and get off your ABM horse! Text books need to be an open standard that can run on Android/Windows 8 etc.

        This should be an open standard!!!
        jatbains
      • RE: Apple education event: Winners and losers

        @The Danger is Microsoft
        I don't see people willingly spending $700 on an iPad just to read some books especially while requiring a PC to do the rest of the work. Financially it doesn't make sense.
        Loverock Davidson-
      • RE: Apple education event: Winners and losers

        @Loverock Davidson-

        "especially while requiring a PC "

        I hope you see the irony in your statement. Probably not.
        msalzberg
      • RE: Apple education event: Winners and losers

        @msalzberg
        I don't, mostly because there is no irony.
        Loverock Davidson-
      • RE: Apple education event: Winners and losers

        @msalzberg
        LRD is correct.
        The majority of households have difficulty providing one pc for the household.
        iPads are secondary devices, especially in a case like this.

        So yeah, $499 or less for a pc the household can use or $499 and up for a student iPad.

        You need to be a bit realistic.
        rhonin