posted by Development
On Thursday, Jan. 19, techies, fan boys and the like gathered at the Guggenheim Museum in New York for an education event hosted by Apple. There, Phillip Schiller, Apple’s vice president of worldwide marketing, unveiled some great new innovations for the education community. A new version of their e-reader app, updates to their university Web portal and an e-book creation tool.
Let’s start with that last one… iBooks Author. It is a new desktop app available only on Mac OSX Lion. It allows anyone to create an e-book. Anyone. For free. Users can then publish their book to the iBookstore or iTunes U (more on those in a minute). But the really great thing here isn’t that anyone can create and publish a book. The exciting part about this is that Apple is pioneering a relatively new format. It isn’t just a book. It’s more than words on a page. Apple gives users access to a wealth of multi-touch widgets. Interactivity. Additionally, users can add videos, keynote presentations and interactive 3-D objects.
Apple also announced a new version of iBooks, their e-reader app. Thanks to syncing via iCloud, users can bookmark their page on their iPhone, and when they pull up the same book on their iPad, they are right where they left off. Additionally, this is how users access iBookstore and where they can purchase books created with iBooks Author. All books are $14.99 or less (most novels fall around $10).
The big thing to note here is the addition of textbooks.
Imagine a searchable textbook! And if that feature alone doesn’t seal the deal, textbooks in the iBookstore are interactive. Your Anatomy 101 book -- now with 3-D models! Architectural History with a video walkthrough of Chartres Cathedral!
iTunes U offers students and educators at any level a portal for all things education.
Apple has partnered with three main educational publishing companies: Houghton Mifflin, Pearson and McGraw-Hill (which combined, account for about 90 percent of all textbook production) to begin creating textbooks specifically designed for the iPad. In addition to textbooks, students can access related course materials via iTunes U: audio, video and presentations from lectures, course-related handouts and documents, notes and quizzes.
Of course, all these new opportunities come with a few significant limitations.
First and foremost is price. The iPad starts at $499, which is many a night on the town for a broke college student. Furthermore, at that price point, it is all but out of reach for most public K-12 schools (although Apple does
have a history of partnering with public school systems
). Also, mom and pop bookstores and local libraries tend to be rather unenthusiastic
about e-books from Amazon . This new push from Apple probably won’t do much to calm their fears.
Apple claims there are currently at least 1.5 million iPads in classrooms -- not a huge number, but it is significant. Furthermore, a recent report from the Pew Research Center
suggests that tablet ownership nearly doubled during the 2011 holiday season. Now almost 20 percent of the population owns a tablet or an e-reader, and with Apple expected to launch the long rumored iPad 3 in March
, those numbers are only going up.
This news has the potential to affect quite a few people:
students, teachers, publishers, libraries, booksellers, avid readers, etc. Additionally, it will affect how users interact with their favorite brands
by inevitably putting tablets in the hands of more people.
Have you thought about how your online presence comes across on a tablet? Let us know in the comments section below!
About the author::
Justin Smith is a Web
developer at thunder::tech. He is also a founding member of the t::t bike club and the proud parent of a basset hound.
TAGS: thundertech, Apple, education, event, phillip schiller, web, Mac, ibook, ibooks, ibookstore, author, e-reader, app, textbook, itunes U, itunes, marketing, marketer, brands, iPad, students, educators
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