Apple Attempts to Reinvent Textbooks with iBooks 2 and iBooks Author
By on January 19th, 2012

After disrupting the entertainment industry, Apple has now set its sights on the education sector. In an event held at the Guggenheim museum in New York City, Apple announced its plans to reinvent the textbook industry.

At the heart of Apple’s textbook strategy is the iPad. The iPad’s potential as an educational device was apparent from the very beginning. More than 1.5 million iPads are currently being used in educational programs. However, the lack of structured content has prevented students and teachers around the globe from realizing its full potential. All this is set to change with today’s announcement of iBooks 2.

Textbooks are informative and comprehensive. Unfortunately, they are also dull and boring. “There is no reason to assume today that kids need to use the same tools they used in 1950”, explained Apple. iBooks are essentially full-fledged iPad applications that are designed to make learning fun by tapping the intuitiveness of learning on a multimedia capable touchscreen tablet.

iBooks will feature interactive graphics, 3 dimensional models, videos, search, interactive quiz, glossary, and more. Apple’s iBooks makes highlighting content, taking notes, and creating study cards as simple as a few taps and swipes on the screen. Additionally, books purchased will be perpetually available in the library, and will continue to be updated as the publisher releases new editions.

iBooks-1

iBooks-2

The advantages of Apple’s new digital textbook platform are several. However, none of that would have mattered if they were not priced right. Thankfully, Apple is again adopting its already proven model of undercutting the established distribution model with smart pricing. All textbooks will be available for $14.99 or less, which is an astronomical price reduction when compared to their dead tree counterparts. Currently, college students often end up spending upwards of thousand bucks on textbooks alone.

iBooks-Search

Apple is not only making it easier to consume information, but also to create information. It is releasing a new application for Mac called the iBooks Creator. As the name suggests, the iBooks Creator is aimed at publishers looking to create iBooks (which may or may not be textbooks). It is a WYSIWYG editor that makes creating gorgeous and interactive textbooks drop dead simple. Most of the stuff can be accomplished by simple drag and drop, and more advanced features can be added through HTML and JavaScript widgets. The iBook Author is available as a free download.

iBooks-Author

Apple is launching its new initiative with all the big guns on-board. Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which account for 90 percent of textbooks sold in the US, are among its launch partners.

[images via Engadget]

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Author: Pallab De Google Profile for Pallab De
Pallab De is a blogger from India who has a soft spot for anything techie. He loves trying out new software and spends most of his day breaking and fixing his PC. Pallab loves participating in the social web; he has been active in technology forums since he was a teenager and is an active user of both twitter (@indyan) and facebook .

Pallab De has written and can be contacted at pallab@techie-buzz.com.

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