Today, Apple announces a variety of education applications, including iBooks 2, iTunes U and iBooks Author, which are geared towards teachers, student and textbook creators.
Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Apple, introduced these applications at an event in New York, claiming they will change education for the better with a laser focus on eTextbooks. As shown in a demo using a biology textbook, users of iBooks 2 will be able to quickly swipe through the pages of a textbook and view crisp, full-size color images and multimedia.
Apple iBooks 2 can be used in two ways: a simple, text-friendly portrait view and an image-friendly landscape view. An interactive glossary was featured that not only displayed the definition of a selected word, but also showed videos and photos. Users will be able to highlight freely and will be able to create index cards from the highlighted texts in the book for use as a study aid.
iBooks 2 users will be able to purchase and download textbooks from the Shopping tab in the application itself. Compared to the prices of physical textbooks, the textbooks sold on iBooks 2 will be significantly less expensive. Customers will be able to purchase textbooks on iBook 2 for $14.99 or less. Textbooks will also be updated regularly so that users will not have to buy a different edition as the content is revised.
Apple will partner with Pearson, McGraw Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which are responsible for 90 percent of all textbooks sold according to Apple, for iBooks 2.
Customers can download iBooks 2 today for free in the App Store.
Apple also announced an update on their iTunes U app that will now allow users to integrate it with iBooks 2. The update expands its functionality to K-12, whereas before iTunes U was geared toward higher education, though major universities including Duke and Harvard are making their course materials freely available on the service. iTunes U functions as a class hub with all related materials, including lectures, syllabuses and reading materials. The newest update for the iTunes U app will allow assignments posted by teachers to be posted right to a student’s iBooks. The student can then use their iPads to complete the assignment and check it off a to-do checklist when it is completed.
The iTunes U app is now available to download in the App Store for free.
Writers will now be able to get a chance to create eBooks and eTextbooks with the iBooks Author application, which is available today for free in the Mac App Store. The app supports HTML-embedded media, including 3D models and interactive elements, and also allows for direct publishing to the Apple iBookstore.