Today Apple announced a whole bunch of new services related to education and publishing. They plan on changing how we use textbooks. It’s actually quite cool based on all the announcements. Let’s take a look at what they talked about today during their education event in New York.
1) iBooks 2
iBooks 2 is an update to iBooks. This one is focused on education. There is a new section of the store made for textbooks, and books now have new features that make it seem almost enjoyable for readers to take notes, study zoom around a book with ease and more. Users can create note cards by simply highlighting and adding information to their notes. Textbooks will be available as early as today for $14.99 or less. Oh, iBooks 2 will also be available today, and it’s free. Just know that those books are gigantic. One of them is said to weigh in at 2.77GB.
2) iBooks Author
iBooks Author is a publishing tool for iBooks. Users can use the applications WYSIWYG interface to create books of any kind (though Apple’s emphasis was on textbooks and education) through the application. It’s going to be available on the Mac App Store today for the wonderfully low price of free. We aren’t sure what Apple’s approval process for books will be, but it will be interesting to see how many people begin publishing their own books through this method. It makes it almost as easy to publish a book as it is to use a standard word processor.
3) iTunes U App
iTunes U is now an app. It’s received a major overhaul. Users can check their courses online (that requires their school or teacher to be participating) and even see what course materials and books they will need for their upcoming classes. Teachers can assign work, which will be received by the students as a push notification, they can view their homework list and check it off as they complete it. What’s more, iTunes U used to be a higher education thing. Now it will be available to k-12 as well. Teachers and schools can now get in on the action.
Of course it will take a lot to change education. It’s not going to happen overnight, and it’s not going to happen next year. Apple and textbook publishers are striving to create new ways for people to learn. It’s hard to say right now how this will all pan out, but it’s a good start and we’re sure it will change how some schools do things.