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Apple expected to announce iPad-optimized textbooks at education event this Thursday

At Thursday's education event, Apple is expected to announce textbooks in partnerships with publishers such as Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, that are optimized for the iPad and encourage student interaction.

When Apple introduced the iPad a couple of years ago, one of the product's promises was that it could change the classroom experience. Founder Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he wanted to transform the textbook industry by hiring writers to create digital versions and making them a feature of the iPad.

As an educator, this makes me very excited. Many changes need to be made in education, and interactive iPad-optimized textbooks will not only be a fantastic learning tool, but also add some excitement and enjoyment to the learning process which is half the battle, for students and teachers alike.

Additionally, textbooks are outrageously expensive, so I hope Apple is also worked out an agreement with publishers to make iPad-optimized textbooks more affordable.

Apple's education event will be held on Thursday, January 19, in New York City.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.

  • They need to be considerably cheaper and widely adopted, otherwise I fear this whole endeavor will fall flat. I have a feeling that colleges that are using textbooks as a nice chunk of revenue will resist this tooth and nail. My college already uses a growing number of school specific versions of textbooks that are only available through the campus bookstore, which makes comparison shopping virtually impossible. I just don't see them taking on something that would disrupt that stream of income. I fear that this has become such a reliable source of easy money that any advances that could potentially lower textbook costs and benefit students will be shunned and avoided because it cuts into their profits.
  • I agree with you about university specific textbooks, as I had a number of professors that wrote their own books and use only those. This could work for books used in core classes, but I can't see a way that all books would be offered.
  • I agree this is a very exciting prospect. And, yes, the textbooks would need to be cheaper, especially after students spend $499 to buy an iPad so they can use them. Don't classes need uniformity? So every student would need an iPad.
  • Teacher- Why didn't you finish your homework?
    Student- My iPad was stolen.
    While it would be very nice just for not having to carry a heavy load, theft might rise because everyone does want an iPad.
  • Schools and universities are the true decision makers and they will be watching closely because tablets can be more than just text books.
    Apple has a handicap because they didn't yet release a docking station that could make the Ipad a thin client, saving schools the expense to buy desktop computers alltogether. Also, not sure the closed architecture will appeal universities who have IT students that will want to do some programming exercises and need a Mac to do so if Ipad is chosen.
    But to the advantage of Apple, security and porn-free content are major concerns in the education context and iOS is doing well.
  • You would think while talking about this they will announce the iPad 3. The retina display displaying these textbooks would look amazing.
  • I could picture textbooks being a rental system. You pay for having the textbook for a few months and then it's not available anymore. That way students don't have in needed textbooks forever and the company's are happy they get to charge a fee over and over again
  • It's all about content.