Early iBooks Textbooks Downloads Estimated at 350,000?

iBooks textbook

Just last week, Apple introduced iBooks 2, an updated version of the company’s e-book software for iOS devices. In addition, they introduced digital textbooks for the iPad and announced partnerships with McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the textbooks. These three publishers are currently responsible for 90% of textbook sales in the United States. Since the moment Apple announced these digital textbooks, it was considered to be a dud. However, today AllThingsD reports on a new research note from Global Equities Research analyst, Trip Chowdhry claiming that customers downloaded approximately 350,000 iBooks Textbooks from the iBookstore over the first three days of availability. Clearly, a dud indeed!

If those numbers are accurate, Apple’s textbook effort would seem to be off to a good start. Which is good news for everyone involved — particularly textbook publishers, who stand to make more money on books sold through iBooks than those sold at retail.

It is unclear how many of those 350,000 downloads were paid purchases, with seven of the eight titles being priced at Apple’s maximum $14.99 price tag. Apparently, these downloads were accompanied by over 90,000 downloads of Apple’s iBooks Author app from the Mac App Store. The eight title, E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth, is available for free, although it currently contains only the first two chapters of the book. Paid titles are also required to offer free samples, and Chowdhry apparently did not mention whether these are counted as downloads.

With only eight iBooks textbook titles available at launch, Apple is just beginning to scratch the surface of the digital textbook market.

Apple May Open Retail Stores in India?

Well, just last week it was reported that Apple is working on two new retail stores in France and Switzerland. Today, Indian business newspaper Mint reports that Apple may be preparing to open retail stores in India. If true, this would significantly increase the company’s presence in the country.

According to the report, Apple’s interest forms due to Indian regulators eliminating ownership requirements that had previously required single-brand retail outlets such as Apple Stores to have at least 49% domestic investment. However, one potential obstacle still might remai as ventures with high levels of foreign investment such as what Apple would offer will be required to source 30% of their product value from small businesses in India. Luckily for Apple, regulators may be willing to address that requirement as well, depending the official analysis of the viability of a retail effort in India.

When asked whether the 30% local sourcing clause will be a hindrance, the DIPP official said, “Let Apple finalize its business plan and the investment it wants to make. If they tell us that the 30% sourcing is a problem, at that stage we will look into it,” he said.

In 2006, Apple attempted to create an Indian presence with a tech support center, but the company quickly abandoned those plans.

Apple is Now Worth More Than Greece

Apple logo

You probably are thinking that the headline of this post is crazy, but in reality it is not. Apple’s share price and market cap has grown like a weed. Just yesterday, it was reported that Apple’s share price had closed at all-time high of $429. While the share price continues to grow, its market cap is growing too. Today, Apple’s market cap has touched $400 Billion, reports CNN Money. It is a record high for the world’s most valuable technology company.

The company’s market cap skid just below the $400 billion mark and share price fell back from an all-time high of $431.37 it set earlier in the morning. At the end of the day, Apple closed at a market cap of $398 billion. In fact, once Apple’s market cap closes at $400 billion, it will only be $20 billion away from becoming the world’s most valuable company. In the past, Apple has stolen the spot away from Exxon. Currently, Exxon claims that spot with a market cap of $420 billion.

Just a few months ago, Apple was worth as much as all Euro zone banks combined. Today, Apple’s worth is higher than the gross domestic product of Greece, Austria, Argentina, or South Africa. Holy moly, and to think the company was doomed nearly a decade ago. What’s hilarious is that Apple’s market cap is nearly twice of Google’s ($207 billion) now. You know, the company that’s dominating in marketshare. To see all the things Apple is worth more than, checkout out this blog.

So let me get this straight, a company that was nearly dead at one point has seen a growth of nearly 4000% in the past 10 years, has more cash in the bank than the US Government, is worth more than Greece, and is the most valuable technology company in the world. Mind boggling isn’t it? Next week, Apple will report its quarterly earnings for the past, and it is expected to be a $40 billion quarter for the company.

Apple Posts Video of iBooks Media Event

Apple has published the full video of today’s education-related event on their website. It requires Safari 4 or 5 on Mac OS X Snow Leopard or Lion, Safari on iOS 3 or later, or QuickTime 7 on Windows.

iBooks keynote

Thursday’s event occurred at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum, and was about an hour long. The event featured Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president for Worldwide Product Marketing, as well as Roger Rosner, vice president for Productivity Software. During the event, iBooks 2 for iPad was officially unveiled, which Apple pitched as a new platform for textbooks in school. The keynote shows a live demonstration of new textbooks made for the iBooks 2 software.

During the event, the company also unveiled  iBooks Author and iTunes U for iPad. iBooks Author is a new app for Mac OS X that makes creating digital books easy for iOS. In addition, Apple also introduced a brand new iPad app for iTunes U. The company turned its free educational podcast section in the iTunes store into an app. iTunes U allows college students to view course materials, receive updates from their teachers, and even sign up for classes.

Apple also released iTunes 10.5.3, which allows users of iBooks to sync their textbook purchases with iTunes.


Apple Announces iBooks Author

Apple sure has made a lot of education-related announcements today. In addition to releasing a revamped version of iBooks, announcing digital interactive textbooks, and an app for iTunes U, the company has also unveiled a brand new Max OS X application called “iBooks Author”. According to the company, this will simplify the process of creating and selling digital textbooks through its iBook store. More importantly, it should be noted that Apple has essentially converted iBooks from an app to a platform.

iBooks Author

Apple’s Roger Rosner, demonstrated the new software to the press during the event. He showed how the tool can easily turn a document like a Microsoft Word file into something formatted for the iBooks 2 app. In addition, users can also place images in their book, and text will flow around the pictures. Movies can also be added to an iBook too by simply dragging and dropping. He also showed how simple it is to add a Keynote file to an iBook. In his demo, Rosner showed how adding a Keynote file would add the presentation to a book as an interactive widget.

Now anyone can create stunning iBooks textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books, and more for iPad. All you need is an idea and a Mac. Start with one of the Apple-designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts. Add your own text and images with drag-and-drop ease. Use Multi-Touch widgets to include interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote presentations, 3D objects, and more. Preview your book on your iPad at any time. Then submit your finished work to the iBookstore with a few simple steps. And before you know it, you’re a published author.

iBooks Author is available for free in the Mac App Store.


Apple Introduces New iTunes U app for iPad

iTunes U app

Not only did Apple introduce a brand new iBooks app and digital interactive textbooks during today’s event, Apple also introduced an iTunes U application for iPad. The company turned its free educational podcast section in the iTunes store into an app. iTunes U allows college students to view course materials, receive updates from their teachers, and even sign up for classes. Also, anyone can view the iTunes U content.

The all-new iTunes U app lets teachers create and manage courses including essential components such as lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and syllabuses and offer them to millions of iOS users around the world.

The new iTunes U app is a huge leap from audio and video lectures to a full-fleged learning app. Which also allows non-traditional students to access huge amounts of free content. Courses are created via the iTunes U course Manager, a web-based tool that allows teachers to build a course that includes a syllabus, handouts, quizzes, and much more.

iTunes U lets you take a complete course on your iPad. View the course overview, instructor biography, and course outline. Read posts and keep track of your completed assignments. Watch videos directly within the app, read books, and view all your course notes in one place. Receive push notifications alerting you to new posts from the instructor. And iCloud keeps your notes, highlights, and bookmarks up to date on all your devices.

iTunes U for iOS has more than 100 courses already optimized for iOS, with more along the way. The app is a free download for iPad and iPhone on the App Store.


Apple Releases iBooks 2 for iPad

Today, Apple had its education-focused media event. During the event, the company made a series of announcements. Right off the bat, Apple started off the keynote by introducing iBooks 2, an updated version of the company’s e-book software for iOS devices. The update comes as a part of a dive into the interactive digital textbooks in partnership with a number of major publishers.

iBooks textbook

Apple has partnered with McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the textbooks. These three publishers are currently responsible for 90% of textbook sales in the United States. In addition, McGraw-Hill and Pearson are rolling out a handful of introductory titles today, with more coming soon. Apple’s initial focus for its textbooks is on high school textbooks. The books are priced at $14.99 or less, which is amazing because usually a textbook of this kind would cost $50+. From the iBooks 2 description:

Introducing iBooks 2 — now with iBooks textbooks.

– 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

iBooks 2 is available for free from the App Store, available as an update to the existing iBooks app.

Apple’s Share Price Closes at All-time High of $429

Apple 429

My oh my, Apple’s share price is surely growing quickly! Last September, the share priced touched $413.23 late in the after market, but closed at $411.63. Today, Apple’s share price has closed at an all-time high of $429. In addition, Apple is continuing to close in on a $400 billion market cap and is currently just as $398.70B at closing. In the after hours, Apple’s share price closed at $430.

On January 24th, Apple will announce its Q1 results, which are expected to be recording breaking. The conference call will occur at 5:00 PM Eastern / 2:00 PM Pacific which will reveal the earnings itself. Earnings are usually announced at 4:30 PM Eastern. In fact, Apple is expected to have had a $40 billion quarter and have sold 13.5 million iPads!

Tomorrow, Apple is having an event so expect the share price to close even high tomorrow. The event is supposed to be related to a major announcement in the textbook industry. Reports suggest that Apple has made partnerships with well-known publishers, and may even launch its own textbook creation tool. Apple teased the event as an education announcement on the event they sent out. Tomorrow’s event begins at 10 AM EST.

iOS 5.1 Beta 3 Suggests That Apple is Planning Deep Facebook Integration

With the introduction of iOS 5, Apple deeply integrated Twitter into iOS. This deep integration allows users to easily sign into Twitter and tweet from anywhere through a built in iOS app. Now, new evidence suggests that iOS 5.1 will add deep integration for Facebook as well.

A recent discovery in the third beta of iOS 5.1, made by iMore suggests that Apple could indeed add deep Facebook integration into a future operating system update. In one screenshot shown for the iOS Contacts application, there is an option to enter a person’s Facebook username right below their Twitter account. The beta build of iOS 5.1 also reportedly includes references to new iPad models named “J1AP” and “J2AP.” Judging by the way Twitter is integrated into iOS, Facebook integration may work the same way and offer similar functionality. This would make it easier for users to share information with their friends on to Facebook.

Facebook iOS 5 beta

In fact, system-wide Twitter integration is one of the most-touted features of iOS 5, which was made available to the public last October. After its release, signups for Twitter grew more than three times.

5 Things to Expect with the iPad 3

Rumors regarding the iPad 3 have been coming out since last year, but now they are just all over the place and are bizarre. Hell has broken loose within the rumor mill. It seems that media has gone on a publishing spree with non-stop rumors, but none have mentioned what we definitely can expect in iPad 3. Here are five reasonable things we can definitely expect with the iPad 3.

 iPad 2 box

1. Thinner and lighter? 

There’s a pattern I have noticed with every product refresh Apple does. Apple loves to make products thinner and lighter with every refresh. For example, all iOS devices besides the iPad to date have become thinner and lighter at some point. This should be a clear sign that iPad 3 will follow the same pattern. However, I put a “?” in front of “thinner and lighter” because rumors have suggested that the iPad 3 will support the 4G/LTE network. 4G/LTE chips are known to be bigger in size versus 3G chips so I think the iPad 3 will be thicker by a couple millimeters or so, but don’t be alarmed! It won’t be noticeable at all. Oh, and don’t expect much of a design change either. Mind you, if there’s one company that can pull off putting a thicker chip into a thinner and lighter product, it is Apple.

2. Better internal hardware

Another very apparent pattern with every product refresh is improved hardware. From iOS devices to their Mac lineup, this holds true. Since I don’t see any reason for Apple not to continue this pattern, better hardware is certain. I think the new hardware will consist of a new “A6” processor, a better graphics chip, and more RAM (1 GB). I think the “A6″ processor will be quad core since the previous “A5″ chip was dual core. Also, recently Apple acquired Anobit, an Israel-based flash maker company so a new processor breakthrough is a given in my opinion. Not only that, but Apple’s been developing its own processors since the introduction of the first iPad. However, we may not see Apple share the internals of iPad 3 on stage, but we definitely can expect iFixIt to reveal the details.

3. Front facing HD camera + improved back facing camera + FaceTime + Siri

During WWDC two years ago, a new piece of hardware and feature was introduced on the iPhone. The iPhone got a front facing camera and Steve Jobs introduced “FaceTime”. Since then, the front facing camera and FaceTime has made its way into the iPod touch, iPad 2, and Mac. This is clear evidence that the iPad 3 will continue to have a front facing camera, a back facing camera + FaceTime integration. We will not only see these features carry over from the iPad 2, but it will be much improved.

First of all, I think the iPad 3 will offer an HD front facing camera for FaceTime. Currently, Apple’s Mac lineup offers an HD camera for FaceTime and as we move more into the “post-PC” era we will start seeing Apple take many of Mac’s features and integrate it into the iPad/iOS. This will be one of several. Second of all, without a doubt, we will see an improved back camera. Third of all, I think we will see “FaceTime HD” and some other goodies for FaceTime introduced since it has been awhile since Apple has updated FaceTime. “FaceTime HD” meanings that the video quality will be crystal clear. Finally, the iPad 3 will offer Siri as a feature without a doubt.

4. Retina Display

Currently all iOS devices besides the iPad have the same display; the Retina Display. People love the gorgeous screen, and that gorgeous screen is about to come to the iPad 3! About time don’t you think? Rumors have suggested that the iPad 3 will get a Retina Display this year. In addition, Samsung has even shown off a Retina-like display and analysts have even suggested that the iPad 3 will offer a Retina Display screen. The technology is floating around out there, it is only waiting for Apple’s implementation. If after even after two years Apple still isn’t able to offer a Retina Display on the iPad, then I don’t know what it will take. I think if Apple doesn’t offer a Retina Display in the iPad 3 this year many will be disappointed. However, if they don’t due to unknown reasons, the iPad 3 will still sell like hotcakes. My money is on Apple including a Retina Display in iPad 3.

5. Cheaper price

Since there’s no pressure against Apple to reduce the price of the iPad 3, I don’t think we will see a change in the base price. The iPad 3 will start at $499. Instead, I think they will lower the price for the iPad 2. When iPad was first announced, it was competitively priced at $499 and since then no competition has been able to dent its sales. To offer a great tablet for a cheaper price and expands its reach for more customers, I think Apple will offer the iPad 2 for $299. However, it seems that with every product refresh, Apple loves to introduce a new price; which is usually cheaper so there might be a slight chance that the iPad 3 will start at $399, but don’t get your hopes up.

Bottom Line

If you have been waiting to purchase an iPad, this refresh would be the perfect reason to. I think the event will be held sometime in late February or early March and will become available a week or two after the event. In addition, the rumors about this product refresh being a two-part refresh should be ignored. We won’t see Apple introduce a 7″ iPad and we certainly won’t see Apple introduce another iPad this year. There will only be one iPad announced this year and it will be called the iPad 3. Apple doesn’t work like that and their roadmap for iOS product refreshes should be fairly clear by now.