Thursday, January 19, 2012

drag2share: Apple's iPad Textbooks: Everything You Need to Know About iBooks 2 (Updating Live) [Apple]


Apple's iPad Textbooks: Everything You Need to Know About iBooks 2 (Updating Live)Steve Jobs wanted to do to education what he did for music, phones and tablet computers. Apple's new textbooks was his Next Big thing (or one of them). They want to change the way students access education material with their new iBooks 2.

This is what they're doing.

Apple—and most teachers—thinks that schools "need a reset." According to Phil Schiller, who is presenting this now in New York City's Guggenheim museum, they can't fix it, but they can help. Apple believes that current books are not good enough: too big and heavy, not durable or interactive. That's why they are coming out with iBooks 2.

Key features

All the iBook 2 features are going to be available to every book, not just textbooks. This is probably the best news of this announcement. Here are the key features:

Interactive graphics and built-in videos: The new textbooks—and any iBook 2-compatible book I guess—would be able to use all the features that any application can use. Instead of just text and photos, they will include multitouch, video and interactive objects.

Apple's iPad Textbooks: Everything You Need to Know About iBooks 2 (Updating Live)Thumbnail navigation: You would be able to go through books using a visual index, with thumbnails marking the sections of the book.

Custom glossary: They also include a feature similar to the current iBook's dictionary, in which you will access each textbook's custom glossary by highlighting words.

Apple's iPad Textbooks: Everything You Need to Know About iBooks 2 (Updating Live)Quizzes and review questions: Another cool feature that I'm sure students will love are the instant quizzes built-in into the textbooks. The quizzes and review questions are built right into each book.

Study cards: This is another really neat feature. The app will automatically turn your highlights and notes into study cards. This will also be useful for any kinds of research, if it's available for every book through the iBooks 2 application. The current iBook highlighting and note taking is very limited when it's time to review whatever notes you took. Their study cards, which are like virtual paper study cards, will help a lot here.

There are already eight free books on the store, but the ones coming from the big publishing companies will be $15 "or less" each. They are working with Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, DK publishing—which is starting with four kids books—and the E.O Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. The latter has made available the first chapters of Life on Earth for free, and they will be adding new chapters for "a low price."

Apple's iPad Textbooks: Everything You Need to Know About iBooks 2 (Updating Live)

How to make them

Apple is also releasing a new application for Mac OS X called iBooks Author. This is an app that anyone can use to create iBooks compatible with the new iBooks 2, not just big companies.

It works like the Apple iWorks applications—which is not a surprise, knowing that iWork's chief Roger Rosner is in charge of this. It basically gets any content that iWork would admit, which includes text, shapes, graphics, video and even entire Keynote presentations, which are fully animated. The app is compatible with Word too, which is a must in a world dominated by Office.

From the demo—he just created a basic textbook in five minutes—it seems like this could be a winner for everyone, not only big publishing companies. The app will be free, and it's available today at the Mac App Store.

Higher education

Apple has an iPad app for higher education too, called iTunes U. It's not just for college books, but for entire online courses from universities (the current iTunes U has had 700 million downloads since it started four years ago).

Updating live...

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