Apple announces iBooks 2, tackles textbooks and the education market

Today, Apple held their education event in New York, and one of their announcements was iBooks 2, and update on their book store which sets textbooks in the iPad's sights. The goal was to create portable, durable, interactive, searchable and current textbooks that still include all the great content. Some of the first demos today showed a biology textbook with graphical table of contents, interactive 3D models of cells, along with all of the usual full text. Publishers will have full control over content layout, and even be able to remotely update the text as needed.

Textbooks can include quick shortcuts to glossaries and dictionaries, so you can quickly figure out foreign terms. There's going to be full-text search with auto-completed suggestions for when you're looking for a particular passage. Textbooks in iBooks 2 will even include little quizzes, to make sure you've absorbed the content from the last chapter. You can also include custom-made flash cards and notes to build your own quizzing scheme.

Not sure if you want a particular iBook? They're going to offer free samples so you can take a peek inside. iBooks may be a little on the large side... Some that we've seen are over 1 GB, so odds are you'll only be downloading and syncing these over Wi-Fi. Textbooks are available starting today in their own dedicated section of the iBooks store, with prices being $14.99 or less. Wow, that's a hell of a lot cheaper than textbooks in my day. Pearson, McGraw Hill, and Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt are just some of the initial publishing partners.

iBooks 2 Changelog below, full press release right after.

Introducing iBooks 2 — now with iBooks textbooks.

  • Experience gorgeous Multi-Touch textbooks designed for iPad
  • iBooks textbooks are filled with interactive features, diagrams, photos, and videos
  • Tap to dive into images with interactive captions, rotate 3D objects, swipe through image galleries, watch videos in full screen, and more
  • Use a finger as a highlighter when swiping over text in a textbook
  • Take advantage of Study Cards to help you memorize important highlights, notes, and glossary terms
  • Tap glossary terms to see definitions of key topics and concepts without leaving the page

Apple Reinvents Textbooks with iBooks 2 for iPad

NEW YORK—January 19, 2012—Apple® today announced iBooks® 2 for iPad®, featuring iBooks textbooks, an entirely new kind of textbook that’s dynamic, engaging and truly interactive. iBooks textbooks offer iPad users gorgeous, fullscreen textbooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, unrivaled navigation and much more. 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℠ with most priced at $14.99 or less, and with the new iBooks Author, a free authoring tool available today, anyone with a Mac® can create stunning iBooks textbooks.

“Education is deep in Apple’s DNA and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet. With 1.5 million iPads already in use in education institutions, including over 1,000 one-to-one deployments, iPad is rapidly being adopted by schools across the US and around the world,” said 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.”

The new iBooks 2 app is available today as a free download from the App Store™. With support for great new features including gorgeous, fullscreen books, interactive 3D objects, diagrams, videos and photos, the iBooks 2 app will let students learn about the solar system or the physics of a skyscraper with amazing new interactive textbooks that come to life with just a tap or swipe of the finger. With its fast, fluid navigation, easy highlighting and note-taking, searching and definitions, plus lesson reviews and study cards, the new iBooks 2 app lets students study and learn in more efficient and effective ways than ever before.

iBooks Author is also available today as a free download from the Mac App Store and lets anyone with a Mac create stunning iBooks textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books and more, and publish them to Apple’s iBookstore. Authors and publishers of any size can start creating with Apple-designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts. iBooks Author lets you add your own text and images by simply dragging and dropping, and with the Multi-Touch™ widgets you can easily add interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote® presentations and 3D objects.

Apple today also announced an all-new iTunes® U app giving educators and students everything they need on their iPad, iPhone® and iPod touch® to teach and take entire courses. With the new iTunes U app, students using iPads have access to the world’s largest catalog of free educational content, along with over 20,000 education apps at their fingertips and hundreds of thousands of books in the iBookstore that can be used in their school curriculum, such as novels for English or Social Studies.* The iTunes U app is available today as a free download from the App Store.

*Some content is available only for iPad.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.