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Apple announces iBooks 2 and iTunes U educational apps


January 19, 2012

Apple has released its iBooks 2 for iPad system, which is intended to replace paper school textbooks with interactive digital iPad textbooks

Apple has released its iBooks 2 for iPad system, which is intended to replace paper school textbooks with interactive digital iPad textbooks

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This morning at New York City's Guggenheim Museum, Apple announced the launch of its iBooks 2 for iPad system. The technology is intended to replace traditional paper school textbooks with interactive digital textbooks, that students would access on their own personal iPads. Educational publishers including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson will supply content on the iBookstore, with most titles priced at no more than US$14.99. Mac users will also be able to create their own digital textbooks, using the authoring tool, iBooks Author.

"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," Apple stated in a press release. "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 users will be able to choose from a variety of page layouts, then drag and drop text and images (including video and 3D objects) into them. They can then publish those texts to iBookstore.

More information on the iBooks 2 system can be seen in a video that Apple released today.

The company also took this morning's opportunity to announce its related iTunes U app. It will reportedly supply educators and students with everything necessary for teaching or taking entire courses, via their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.

"The all-new iTunes U app lets teachers create and manage courses including essential components such as lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and syllabuses and offer them to millions of iOS users around the world," the company stated. "The iTunes U app gives iOS users access to the world's largest catalog of free educational content from top universities including Cambridge, Duke, Harvard, Oxford and Stanford, and starting today any K-12 school district can offer full courses through the iTunes U app."

Besides accessing educational material, students will also be able to take notes using iBook, which will then be consolidated for easier reviewing. They will additionally receive notifications on information regarding their classes. Educators will be able to create their own courses using a variety of media, using existing Apple programs such as Keynote, Pages, Numbers, or now, iBooks Author.

Both iBooks 2 and iTunes U are available today as free downloads, from the App store.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Considering my textbooks cost $400 for this one semester alone, I would kill to be able to buy them on iBooks instead. Nothing fancy even necessary - just straight port them.

Von Meerman

Typical of Apple\'s arrogance, this useless program is a waste of time downloading unless you happen to be in the USA; live anywhere else in the world and its not worth the time taken to download it. It is high time Apple took into consideration that a small percentage of users are in the USA - the majority of us live elsewhere in the world - and started providing international support. Apple produces excellent hardware but their customer support is, basically, non-existent, if you don\'t believe me, try emailing them.


The free iBook author is an amazing gift to anyone writing a cookbook or any book that could be enhanced with videos, links and more.

Apple has the best customer service in the world. To trash them because they can\'t release their goodies to every country in the world at the same time is rather silly, is it not? It is, after all an American company.


Wally: The US attitude on sharing information with other countries needs to be reconsidered before this happens. I am not usually an apple defender, but in this case I see international trade \"agreements\" (the part of the license agreement nobody reads) as being to more to blame. Of course the leadership in the US has a course set ass-first for this goal with SOPA and PIPA.

Charles Bosse


I think you\'re letting your hatred of Apple blind you. iBooks textbooks are not available outside of the US almost certainly because overseas publishers haven\'t negotiated agreements with Apple yet. It will come in time. Sorry if you feel so slighted because Apple can\'t handle the entire world at once at the launch of a brand new product and caters to its home market first.


Apple is again creating history, with its never ending innovations and applications, with yet another ground breaking revelation of a whole new world of books and education content for all those who want to learn new things and stuff. Yes Apple has now announced their new iTunes U, which will be the world's largest digital catalog of free education content.

Now this is completely different from innovation, which is more like a social responsibility taken up by the technology giant itself, to provide free access to education to one and all. The book store will now comprise of a wide range of topics, from molecular biology at a university, taking Spanish in high school, or just a hobby reading of the European history, you will now have a valuable tool to help you learn anytime, anywhere.

Rick Pila
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