Google Play Books has had an update pushed out that lays the way for their textbook rentals. Back at the Nexus 7/Chromecast event in San Francisco, Google confirmed that textbooks would be coming to their own Google Play Books selection. A direct competitor to Apple's own textbook selection available through iBooks, Google also stated that their textbooks would be available on a rental basis and this update adds support for them.
Buried among the numbers at yesterday's iPad and Mac event, Tim Cook announced a new version of iBooks with a few new features. From the beginning I'd heard the iPad mini was about removing weight and cost as barriers of entry to iPad sales, and about taking the ebook fight to Amazon and, as Ryan Block of GDGT aptly terms them, their Kindle line of consumer content appliances. Yet the event came and went without Apple matching the Kindle on pricing, or challenging Amazon on ebooks. Why?
Steve Jobs had Apple halt iPhone production to make the display more prominent, halted iPad production to make the edges more scoop-able, and continuously, relentlessly, stopped Apple in mid-stride to cut what wasn't necessary and simplify what absolutely was. This singular insight is brought into sharp focus once again by biographer Walter Isaacson, writing for the Harvard Business Review on the subject of Steve Job's leadership.
Wisconsin plans to use settlement funds from Microsoft to buy 1,400 iPads for educational use. The settlement funds from Microsoft are related to a suit in which consumers claimed Microsoft was overcharging its consumers for software. The iPads are being paid for with $3.4 million in funds from the almost $80 million total that Microsoft agreed to pay to the state.
According to Global Equities Research, Apple's foray into the digital textbook market has been met with initial success, selling through upwards of 350,000 textbooks within the first 3 days. AllThingsD reports.
Almost immediately following Apple's education event, the internet was filled with claims that Apple's textbook plan will never work. Namely, that the current $500 entry price of an iPad is unreasonably expensive for schools or parents to afford.
McGraw Hill CEO, Terry McGraw has paid a huge amount of credit to Steve Jobs over the launch of iBooks 2, which brought the availability of low price textbooks on the iPad. Speaking to the press after Apple’s education event yesterday, McGraw was asked a number of questions by All Things D reporter Peter Kafka. He was asked why now for digital textbooks as Apple had been talking to publishers for the last few years.
"If Apple relies on the existing $500 iPad to hit the education market, I think they may just accelerate the ownership of their products to students who were already going to own them … kids in well-to-do families."
Yesterday Apple made one of those cool little announcements that probably won’t affect too many of us in the short term. But I think their initiative with iBooks 2 and iBooks Author offers significant long term benefits to the company and its shareholders.
At Apple's education event they announced two initiatives: iBooks 2 and iBooks Author designed to bring textbooks into the digital age, and an all new iTunes U to create and share lesson plans, and follow and complete course work. As education initiatives from publicly traded companies go, they're big and bold -- but they're also just the beginning. There will be struggles and successes, breakthroughs and missteps. And while many of us here at iMore and Mobile Nations could speak about the implications from purely technical and business standpoints, we're lucky to have several teachers and educators, past and present, on staff. They were kind enough to share their thoughts on Apple's new initiatives, specifically and importantly where they impact most -- our kids in the classroom.
Immediately following Apple's Education Event, I downloaded a couple textbooks from the iBookstore, namely, Geometry and Chemistry. I've done some browsing and am very impressed with what Apple and the publishers have done with these textbooks.
On the surface, the books look like typical textbooks, but a simple touch brings the pages to life. You can enlarge images, flip through slideshows, watch videos and examples, take sample quizzes, and more. One of my favorites features is that there are flashcards pre-created with all the terms and definitions from each chapter. You can also create your own cards from highlighted text and user-created notes.
This is just the beginning of textbooks in the iBookstore and I'm looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.