Apple revealed iBooks2 for the iPad on Thursday, claiming the software will revolutionize education by providing interactive textbooks at the tap of a screen.
Apple has joined forces with a trio of publishing house giants – Pearson PLC, McGraw-Hill Cos Inc, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – to make the textbooks available on the iPad device, potentially giving Apple a leg up over competitors who are also pushing their way into the education industry.
According to the Times of Indiana, Apple will take a 30 percent cut from each digital textbook sale. TerryMcGraw, chief executive of McGrawhill, did not mind sharing the profits with Apple, “as printing and distributing textbooks accounts for about 25 per cent of their cover prices.”
The software is really part of the “Version 2.0” of the iBooks software and iBookstore on iTunes, where users can instantly download digital “books” to their computer, iPad, or certain other Apple devices. Apple explains that users can "browse your library on a beautiful bookshelf, tap a book to open it, flip through pages with a swipe or a tap, and bookmark or add notes to your favorite passages."
With iBooks 2, users “experience gorgeous Multi-Touch textbooks designed for iPad.” The starting price for a high school text book is $14.99.
Apple also revealed “iBooks Author," which lets users build interactive textbooks, and an iTunes U app, which allows free downloads of lectures and other course content,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
While iBooks Author and iTunes U app may provide an open venue for anyone to create, share, or obtain the kind of educational information that is at the core of Apple’s latest ambition, others point out that the iPad’s starting price tag of $499 may not be feasible for many students.
The Times of Indiana reports that Eddy Cue, Apple Internet chief, said, “"Our iPads are very affordable; they start at $499. It's an amazing product with all the capabilities that it brings; that's what we've got and we feel very good about that.”