Apple this week announced its new iBooks textbooks for iPad users, which are set to provide iPad equipped students with interactive textbooks that feature text, interactive animations, photographs and video.
The interactive textbooks are set to become available on iBookstore, at around $15 (R120).
The company pointed out that iBooks textbooks can be kept up to date, don't weigh down a backpack and never have to be returned. Leading education services companies, including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson, will deliver educational titles on the iBookstore.
The new iBooks 2 app, which accommodates the interactive textbooks, is already available as an update to those using iBooks or for free on the apps store.
“With 1.5 million iPads already in use in education institutions, including over 1000 one-to-one deployments, iPad is rapidly being adopted by schools across the US and around the world," explained Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
"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," he added.
Perhaps an even more interesting announcement though for non-students is the launch of the iBooks Author programme, which some have dubbed a “GarageBand for ebooks.”
The freely available app is similarly available from the Mac App Store and enables users who have an Apple Mac computer to create and sell their own textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books and more, and publish them to Apple's iBookstore.
Authors and publishers would be able to start creating interactive ebooks with Apple-designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts. The company elaborated that iBooks Author allows users to add their own text and images by simply dragging and dropping, while Multi-Touch widgets support interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote presentations and 3D objects.
Those seeking to sell their own eBooks on Apple’s store will apparently find a similar arrangement as encountered by app developers. eBooks can be made available for free, although priced eBooks would be subject to Apple’s 70%/30% split, with 30% of sales going to Apple.
To the point
Quite frankly, we’re excited about this development. It could be the beginning of the end for students having to carry large, heavy books with them, and offer a myriad of opportunities for independent publishers to make their own iPad-based books far more quickly than before.
However, there is no word as yet as to whether Apple will be instituting further discounts on its venerated tablet for students. Even so, with the launch of the iPad 3
looming, we expect to see at least some price cuts on the iPad 2
in the near future, which may make this initiative more accessible to students and their parents who do not yet own Apple’s tablet.