Welcome to the University Libraries blog!

Please log in.

Member Login
Lost your password?

Tech Trends w/ Tara: Apple’s big education announcement

Today Apple announced its official entrance into the e-textbook field promising to revolutionize education’s outdated, static, and expensive print model.  Here’s a run down of the 3 main parts of today’s announcement.


  • iBooks 2: Apple released an update for its primary reading application chock full of education enhancements.  These include the ability to highlight, explore 3D models, view embedded videos and images, make flashcards out of notes and highlights, look up word definitions, search all content, flip back and forth between text and multimedia and more.  Apple has teamed up with education’s Big Three (McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin) and will provide those e-texts for $14.99 or less. (How can they offer them for so little?)

  • iBooks Author:  This is where things get interesting.  While companies like Inkling are already producing impressive interactive textbooks for the iPad, products which allow instructors to create their own books are fewer far, can be limited to a single publisher, and often don’t have the multimedia support Apple will provide.  Any user (any Mac user that is – sorry, this app isn’t available for Windows) can create any type of book by dropping and dragging with the free iBooks Author app available from the App Store.  Multi-Touch widgets allow authors to include interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote presentations, 3D objects, and more.

  • iTunes U App: While iTunes U has been around for some time, this dedicated app will transform it from a lecture podcast library to something much closer to a online classroom management system like Blackboard.  Students with an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch can download the app and access course work, like lectures, assignments, books, quizzes, blog entries, and syllabi which their instructors have uploaded.  This product becomes especially attractive when using iBooks 2, which will allow for easy integration of the main class text with all other course documents.






One Response to Tech Trends w/ Tara: Apple’s big education announcement

  1. Gino on January 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    If they really wanted to revolutionize academics, these ebooks would run on more than just ipads. Thought technically the .ibook standard is based on .epub, it isn’t the same.

    What they are revolutionizing is how to get their hands on 30% of the profits.

    Does this really make books any cheaper? Publisher sells a math book to a school for $75. Now, that book may be used for ten years, or more. It also may be used for multiple students and classes within the same year.

    But, now with these apple books, it’s only $15! Wow! Well, yeah, but using the 10 year book example from above, now the publisher is making $150, because every student has to buy it every year. Probably more, if you figure two classes a year. So it’s more like $300 vs $75.

    Not to mention, how many schools don’t even have computers? Or have very few computers per student? But now somehow all school kids are expected to have a $500 ipad to read books on? Who is going to pay for this? Taxpayers? Parents? What about low income families?

    Sounds like a great idea for the well off people, but I suspect all this will do is widen the gap between the have and have nots.

    Oh, and anything you make with ibooks author can only be sold via itunes. So, it’s a total system lock in. You need your mac to create it, itunes to sell it, and ipad to read it.

    I guess if you drink the apple kool aid, this is the best news in the world. But for those of us who don’t live and breath apple…meh

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *