It’s official: At this morning’s education event in New York City, Apple has announced what is presumably the company’s effort at a textbook killer. But just because iBooks 2 should lighten the load for students, doesn’t mean it should be a poke at the publishing industry. Seems Cupertino would rather join forces with publishers than steamroll over them. That’s a pretty different tactic than the one it had when it entered the music scene with iTunes.
Apple is billing it as a “new textbook experience for the iPad.” Available via a new Textbooks category within the new iBooks 2, this implementation will boast feature-rich, engaging layouts and some powerful features, such as integrated databases — like the ability to search LexisNexis within an iBook textbook. Others include review/flashcard features, highlighting, portrait/landscape modes, and interactive features (like tapping, rotating pics, swiping to flip pages, multi-touch gestures and interacting with images for, say, anatomy, etc), as well as embedded animations and video, dictionary, and search tool. Plus, students will be able to buy the book once and then own the title forever, so they can re-download as needed.
The app itself is free and available immediately, and titles will be available on a cost per title basis. (High school textbooks will be first — with a few titles already available to start — at price points from $15 or less.) Apple has partnered with companies like Pearson, McGraw Hill, Houghton-Mifflin, Harcourt, and DK Publishing, among others, but you can be sure more will be on tap as time goes on.
Immediately following the iBooks 2/textbook announcement, the company also announced iBooks Author, a publishing app. Click here for more on that.