Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president for worldwide marketing, commenced the Thursday’s invitation-only educational event, introducing the new version of Apple’s iBooks app, the iBooks2.
Presenting school textbooks from top educational publishers in iBooks2 and a new Mac app for users to make their own iBooks2s to be sold through the iBookstore, Schiller said that Apple was proud to know that its iPads were helping an ever increasing number of students in classrooms. He estimated that over 1.5 million iPads were being used for the purpose of education due to 20,000 educational applications and a vast library filled with all kinds of educational content present in the iBookstore.
He said that keeping in view the immense popularity of iPads in education, the natural step to take for Apple was to put the textbooks on the iPad. Explaining the textbook reinventing concept, he said the iBooks, unlike conventional textbooks, do not suffer from wear and tear, are more portable and certainly easier to search. Moreover, the iBooks2 will bring movies, multi-touch gestures, links, super fast searches, photo galleries, visual Q&A 3D models and other interactive tools that are absent in traditional textbooks. It also presents highlighting, note taking and end of the chapter question and answers, making the experience of studying and teaching more exciting and interactive.
The new Mac app for making iBooks2s is called iBooks Author. The iBooks Author will offer templates drag and drop controls, auto formatting and customizing elements.
All the textbooks from Apple’s partners will be offered at a price of $14.99 or less. It should be noted that these textbooks are priced at $75 in the market.
The three major publishers Apple has partnered with are Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. According to Schiller, 90% of the textbooks available belong to these publishers.
But there’s more for educators. At the event, Apple also introduced the new iTunes U, which allows teachers to stream their lectures’ videos and post class notes, handouts, reading lists, etc., all right from the app. “It lets teachers do everything on their iPad,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior Vice President for Internet software and Services.