Apple’s education event: iBooks 2, iBooks Author, textbooks in digital book store

January 19, 2012

Apple executives have taken the stage at the Guggenheim Museum in New York to discuss their latest foray into the education market.

10:00 a.m. According to Technologizer’s Harry McCracken Apple’s executive Phillip Schiller, the senior vice president of worldwide marketing, has taken the stage to introduce the event.

McCracken reported that Schiller said, “education is deep in our DNA and it has been since the very beginning” and that Apple is “on the cusp of something great.”

10:06 a.m.: In a slide titled “Reinventing the textbook,”Schiller has shown off a “brand new textbook experince for the iPad, according to The Verge’s Joanna Stern. Called iBooks 2, the new textbook experience makes textbooks interactive.

10:12 a.m.: Apple has prepared a video with interviews of teachers explaining the limits of teaching with traditional textbooks — namely, low student engagetment — and talking about the excitement they see from students when they use the iPad to learn, reports CNET. The new textbooks lets students tap on glossary terms they don’t understand, jump easily between sections of textbooks and lets you save notes into your Apple cloud document without leaving the textbook.

10:17 a.m.: The Verge’s Joanna Stern says that there are interactive, visual Q&A sections for students immediately at the end of each chapter, which lets them measure the immediate impact of wha t they’ve just read. They’ve also added in study tools such as the ability to highlight certain passages by running a finger over them. The software will automatically turn these highlights into study cards. Apple’s

10:18 a.m.:Glossary terms can also be turned into cards, and can be shuffled.

10:20 a.m.: McCracken reports that the iBooks store has now been updated to include a textbook section, and that books can be downloaded to the iPad. Students “own the book forever” and can redownload texts to their devices at any time. iBooks 2 will be free on the App Store today.

10:21 a.m.: Apple also introduces “iBooks Author,” a Mac app that will let anyone make their own interactive textbook; comes with templates such as science or math, CNET reports.

10:22 a.m.: Users can add their own interactive elements, such as videos or 3D models whether making a book out the week’s lesson plans or a cookbook for their own kids.

10:25 a.m.: Stern reports that Apple’s iWork vice pressident, Roger Rosner, is showing off how easy it is to drag elements such as photo galleries and models into the textbooks. Apple has an interactive toolbar with pre-made elements that authors can manipulate.

10:26 a.m.: Authors can also put pieces of their own code into the textbooks, using javascript or HTML 5. The DIY books also have the glossary feature.

10:28 a.m.: McCracken reports that the publishing is easy; iBooks Author assembles the book and formats it for the iPad automatically. The software also has a preview function.

10:30 a.m.: From Stern: Rosner says, “"In like 5 minutes flat, we created an e-book and deployed it to the iPad. I hope you find that as inspiring and empowering as I do."

10:31 a.m.: iBooks 2 is also free, today from the Mac App Store.

10:32 a.m.: They’re making textbooks available for every subject, high school texts for $14.99 or less each, McCracken reports.

10:33 a.m.: Aha! Apple’s been working with "Pearson, McGraw Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,” Stern reports, to get the books available on the iPad.

10:35 a.m.: Those companies reportedly have 90 percent of the textbook market; McGraw Hill making Algebra 1, Biology, Chemistry, Geometry, Physics,available today, CNET reports. These books are already used by 3 million students. Pearson making two texts used by 4 million students available today.

10:37 a.m.: Apple’s launching a new book, Life On Earth,from E.O. Wilson, through the store today. A few chapters are avilable now for free, with the option to purchase more as they are completed.

10:40 a.m.: Apple now showing a video with teachers saying that they are frustrated by outdated textbooks, Stern reports.

10:42 a.m.: Publishing execs praise Apple’s efforts in video, saying that this will engage children, CNET reports.

10:45 a.m.: Apple’s Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet Software and Services, takes the stage to talk about iTunes U, McCracken reports. He says there have been 700,000,000 downloads so far; the majority are lectures.

10:48 a.m.: Apple’s introducing an iTunes U app that lets teachers put syllabi and other materials on an iPad app.

10:50 a.m.: Can show streaming lectures, video, as well as course materials, readings, assignment tracking, etc., CNET reports.

10:53 a.m.: Duke, Stanford, Yale, MIT and two others have already had access to the courses, and created over 100 courses on it. Opening up for K-12 schools as well, Stern reports.

10:54 a.m.: iTunes U app is free today from the App Store.

10:55 a.m.: You can download the app from the store today.

`10:56 a.m.: Stern reports Cue says, “We hope that educators are going to look back on today's announcements as fondly as our earlier work.”

10:58 a.m.: And that’s a wrap. If you’re curious about how Apple may make iPads affordable for schools and students, check out Washington Post reporter Cecilia Kang’s story on the company’s lobbying push with state governments and school districts to get the tablets into classrooms.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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