Apple’s NYC educational event just finished and while there was no new hardware in sight, the event was actually surprisingly interesting. When I had heard that Apple was going to re-invent the textbook, I didn’t exactly jump out of my seat but what I saw today, kind of made me wish I was back in high school. The event revolved around two main points: The release of iBooks 2 & iBooks Author – both available today.
iBooks 2: “…is an amazing way to download and read books. iBooks includes the iBookstore, where you can download the latest bestselling books or your favorite classics – day or night. Browse your library on a beautiful bookshelf, tap a book to open it, flip through pages with a swipe or a tap, and bookmark or add notes to your favorite passages….” Check it out….
• 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
The iBookstore offers textbooks on Algebra, Biology, Chemistry, Geometry, and Physics from McGraw-Hill and Pearson. These textbooks are currently available to customers in the United States. Textbooks from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are coming soon.
iBooks Author: ”…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….” Check it out….
So what does this mean for us? Essentially, iBooks 2 takes advantage of Apple interactive iBooks Author framework, allowing classic textbooks to be converted to amazing iPad based interactive books. Educational curriculums and teaching styles can be built around these new interactive books but the real question is: Will school districts adopt Apple’s new tools? Apple already gives educational discounts to schools, teachers and students but what will Apple have to do to get mass adoption?
How effective will Apple’s inroads into the educational system and how well iBooks 2 + iBooks Author will be depends on how well publishing houses get on track with converting/creating these interactive textbooks. It isn’t enough to have schools adopt iPads and it isn’t enough for publishing houses to create amazing textbooks that no one will use – there has to be inroads from both parties. Here is a walkthrough from Engadget: