Apple outs interactive textbooks and iBooks 2, to take on traditional education tools with the iPad

Apple outs interactive textbooks and iBooks 2, to take on traditional education tools with the iPad
Just as rumored, Apple's heads took centerstage at the Guggenheim museum today in NYC, to announce the company's newest educational initiative - digital textbooks.

Starting off with the premise that kids get easily bored these days in the classrooms, and need more engaging and interactive learning tools, Apple went on touting the iPad, and its more than 20 000 education-related apps. Then the catch phrase was served, that Apple wants to reinvent the textbook.

Roger Rosner, the VP of productivity applications took stage to showcase how interactive and engaging books can be on the iPad 2. We can have swiping to get to different pages, colorful, engaging layouts, and movies showing right into the textbook pages. "No printed textbook can compete", seems to be the quote of the evening.

These new textbooks will have a separate section in the new iBooks 2 edition, which is simply an app update you can download right now from the App Store to your iPad. The possibilities seem endless - from hyperlinks within the text, letting you jump hundreds of pages, through searching, to interacting with pictures, zooming in and out to read the description of elements, running embedded movies, and so on.

You would also be able to highlight with your finger in different colors, and have your annotations be transformed into Study Cards for later use. Also, immediate feedback after chapters seems to be a big advantage of these new digital textbooks Apple is promoting, with review questions at the end. Here is what Apple has done with its digital textbooks project, as per the company's own description:

• Experience gorgeous Multi-Touch textbooks designed for iPad
• iBooks textbooks are filled with interactive features, diagrams, photos, and videos
• Tap to dive into images with interactive captions, rotate 3D objects, swipe through image galleries, watch videos in full screen, and more
• Use a finger as a highlighter when swiping over text in a textbook
• Take advantage of Study Cards to help you memorize important highlights, notes, and glossary terms
• Tap glossary terms to see definitions of key topics and concepts without leaving the page

To help you create said interactive textbook experiences, a new tool will be provided, called iBooks Author, so the publishing side of things will be taken care of as well. There will be templates, so you don't need to be a coder to do it - for cookbooks, children's books, travel guides, math and science publications, and so on. You can just drag images or even videos in the dedicated template placeholders, key in the text, link it, and your book will be ready in a jiffy, promises Apple.

These templates are free, but developers with some coding skills will go a long way to create much more engaging and more customized experiences, so some titles will be less amateurish-looking than others. At more than 1GB a pop for such books created with iBooks Author, the storage question might become an issue at some point.

Starting with high school textbooks, there will be titles for each subject and grade level, priced at $14.99 a piece or less. Apple has worked with the biggest textbook publishers on those, such as Pearson, McGraw Hill, etc., and books are for the students to keep once they buy them. The title Life on Earth, from the E.O. Biodiversity Foundation, will be available today for free, as a poster child of what such interactive textbooks can accomplish.

Well, one thing is for sure - if tablet-based education takes off, it will put an end to overflowing backpacks that are giving our kids spinal injuries.



1. Alantef

Posts: 288; Member since: Sep 14, 2011

now apple takes over the hope this makes books MUCH!! cheaper

2. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

at $600 a tablet, its not going to be cheaper up front. Maybe if they made a special durable edition with gorilla glass and anti scratch coatings it would be worth it so they would last for a good few years. Apple indoctrination in school.. yaaaaaaaay...

5. ilia1986 unregistered

"And on the First day, Steve Jobs created Earth, water, life, the Macintosh, and Apple inc. And on the Second day Steve Jobs created the iPod And on the third day Steve Jobs created the iPhone And on the fourth day Steve Jobs created the iPad And on the fifth day.. that's it kids! lesson over. Pay 9.99$ to prolong your subscription to the magical and revolutionary Bible 3GS.

10. saiki4116

Posts: 413; Member since: Mar 31, 2011

that was awesome

18. stealthd unregistered

Oh look, ilia hijacked another comment for another poor attempt at satire. Get a life dude. Try posting something interesting instead of the same old schtick only a die-hard Apple hater would smirk at.

25. ilia1986 unregistered

lol something got under your skin, fanboy? Try posting something that's actually going to contribute to the conversation. Like saying how good or bad this move is. I say that it's just Apple's attempt to take over the basic education system in the US. Something along the lines of Apple's youth.

26. stealthd unregistered

You've never contributed to a discussion. You're a troll that thinks everyone who disagrees with you is also a troll.

27. ilia1986 unregistered

lol wow stealthd. You better beware buddy. Last time a person (*cough* taco50 *cough*) went on a flaming spree and demonstrated nothing but a sheer lack of reason and intelligence - he\she got banned. Are you here to replace him? I would strongly suggest against that. As for the discussion - If Apple really wants to contribute to the US education market - make those textbooks in HTML 5 format, for anyone to view them from anywhere.

9. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

"really hope this makes books MUCH!! cheaper" It could make the books much cheaper by cutting out the production cost for the book. Compare the prices for books on the iBooks store vs. the same book's hardback price for an idea of the savings opportunity. The one potential issue is Apple apparently not supporting the full ePub specification when Amazon provides full support. Regardless, it will be interesting to see what happens to Apple's schoolbook initiative.

12. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

yea sure, it would make the e-books a bit cheaper, but the upfront cost would be staggering. instead of "heres your book, that will be $100 dollars" its going to be "here's your ipad, that will be $600 dollars + you have to buy the ebook for $70" I use ebooks all the time. They are not really all that much cheaper when you realize you can never buy them used, and u can never sell them when your done with them. You cant really say its for the planet as they have to either destroy forests for a book, or destroy jungles strip mining rare earth metals. I do it for ease of use. My tablet vs 5 books that stack up past my knees.. hmmmm..

22. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

An iPad is basically the cost of entry. Not unlike having to pay for supplies in certain majors. Not meaning to sound hard-hearted, but if an iPad is too much for you to afford, you have more pressing concerns. The point you make about eBooks not being able to be re-sold, is valid, but it might be an opening for Amazon. But not having to lug around a backpack full of books... that would have been compelling when I was going through college.

3. DIYguy

Posts: 190; Member since: Feb 27, 2011

Normal school religion class: "Who created the world?" "God created the world!" Apple school reliigion class: "Who created the world?" "The Great Jobs created the world"

4. ZayZay

Posts: 571; Member since: Feb 26, 2011

"Well, one thing is for sure - if tablet-based education takes off, it will put an end to overflowing backpacks that are giving our kids spinal injuries." Hope they can get insurance on them for when a bully beats them up and takes it or pushes them down and it breaks in their bags. Personally I think this is ridiculous and there is so many questions I have about the funding for children to get these ipads and our government being, well poor. What about the kids who have a poor family, are they going to get left out in class because they can't afford one?

19. ZayZay

Posts: 571; Member since: Feb 26, 2011

I guess I get thumbs down for having logical reasons to dislike a company trying to make millions off of schools that already don't have enough money to support themselves and a society with a recession that has made a ton of people's wallets tighter. But hey Apple doesn't care they just want there millions, not to help anyone for the sake of helping without a profit.

20. stealthd unregistered

Had you actually used any semblance of logic maybe you wouldn't be voted down. Sorry, but anyone complaining about corporations trying to make money isn't using logic. That's the only reason corporations exist. And no one is being forced to use these digital textbooks, it's available to the students and schools that can afford it.

6. android1234

Posts: 203; Member since: Feb 09, 2010

I feel like more games and distractions will become way more likely with using the iPad in class. Angrybirds-a-thon.

23. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

nah, don't think so. Everyone already has a smartphone and laptop

7. RazaAsad

Posts: 100; Member since: Nov 24, 2011

Internet access, a personal tab, ample of time away from parents day or nights. I guess tabs will need parental controls because children will be more prone to porn more behavioral problems, frustration, bullies and child abuse. Even if the kids are given the ipads of their own, their should be "strict controls" over the devices. I am not against educational use of the devices though.

8. drahmad

Posts: 480; Member since: Aug 20, 2011

like windows

11. iKingTrust

Posts: 716; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

All i am going to say is WOW, i love this. ;)

13. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

And NOT TOO MANY schools don't have Mac's or iPads. Still dont seen Apple make free apps when they should do some donations which I never see Apple give away anything too schools that need computers.

14. 530gemini

Posts: 2198; Member since: Sep 09, 2010

This is really awesome and conducive to learning. And it's really a good thing. But of course it's a bad thing according to fandroids. And fandroids don't like this idea. But as soon as google copies this initiative from Apple. It suddenly becomes a good thing, and then suddenly google has been working on this for ages :)

15. ilia1986 unregistered

Good thing? I don't care if it's Apple or Google dude. I'm 25 y\o and when I was in school we used BOOKS. Not iBooks. Not eBooks. Good old paper-made books. Nowadays students send their homework to their teacher by E-MAIL FFS! I meen geez - where on earth do we live?!

16. 530gemini

Posts: 2198; Member since: Sep 09, 2010

Oh so now all of a sudden you want to live in the past? Lol. I'm sure you'll change your mind when google introduces their own rip off of this :)

24. ilia1986 unregistered

Nope. I've told you already. I don't think that some 10 year old kid should send his homework by E-MAIL to his teacher. Next thing you know - kids are gonna do their exams via Facebook or something.

17. stealthd unregistered

Are you smoking crack? You don't wouldn't want your textbooks to have Ctrl-F? Go back to your bridge, troll.

21. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

According too you the APP is free. And like I say schools dont have MAC'S ipods/Mac'S/iPads too us their useless dumb ass app and I dont see Apple donating their computers too any schools. youre the one too talk. Dont make me laugh

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