The much-awaited education event was hosted by Apple on Thursday in New York, as the technology giant took a moment to unveil iBooks 2, which is being touted as a textbook killer.
Apple's new education platform iBooks 2 will be available as a free app on iPad immediately, with more graphics-reinforced features such as colorful images and 3D objects and video. If the user wishes, the user can also switch back into traditional book format.
Apple has been working on digital textbook innovation with publishing giants such as Pearson PLC, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The partnership has resulted in creation of textbooks via iBooks for $14.99 or less for High school students. Selections from DK Publishing and the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation will be available soon.
However, Apple is not alone. Amazon has also set its sight on the $8 billion textbook market. However, Apple has stolen a lead and its ambitious launch might bring crustal movement in innovation for digital education. It is well known that Steve Jobs had been thinking about bringing innovation in the education sector which is believed to be ripe for disruption, according to his biography.
At the event held in New York's Guggenheim Museum, Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller said that Apple wants to do its part to help teachers.
Education is deep in Apple's DNA and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet. With 1.5 million iPads already in use in education institutions, including over 1,000 one-to-one deployments, iPad is rapidly being adopted by schools across the US and around the world, Schiller said. Now with iBooks 2 for iPad, students have a more dynamic, engaging and truly interactive way to read and learn, using the device they already love.
iBooks Author - Create your own e-Book
To help the iBooks database grow, Apple has also launched iBooks Author. The free, custom e-book creation platform can be used by anybody to drag and drop text and image. One can add videos and slides too. This platform is for educators or smaller publishers to create their own styled e-books that can be showcased in the iBookstore.
iTunes U Apps - Pushing the Boundaries of the Classroom
At the event, Apple also announced that iTunes U app will be availbe for K-12 students too. This tool has been used for lectures primarily to organize contents and access free educational contents from universities.
The all-new iTunes U app enables students anywhere to tap into entire courses from the world's most prestigious universities, said Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. Never before have educators been able to offer their full courses in such an innovative way, allowing anyone who's interested in a particular topic to learn from anywhere in the world, not just the classroom.
Well, it seems Apple has done a great service to the education sector and though questions have emerged whether Apple's innovations will kill the traditional textbook, it is more likely that iBooks 2 and iBooks will supplement the traditional textbooks than kill them.