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Hands-On Video With Apple's Digital Textbooks

Engadget has posted a hands-on video of the iPad's interactive digital textbooks in the press demo section of Apple's education-focused media event today, and they were impressed:
Interacting with the books is a generally intuitive combination of tapping, swiping and pinching. You can pinch from any page to get out to the heading of that chapter, then drag along a bar on the bottom to quickly go from one chapter to the next. When you're looking at any page, you can get a closer view of any of the media there by simply pinching it. Tiny picture of an ant? Give it a nudge and it's full-screen. You can then swipe through galleries, play movies and interact with various other widgets that authors can drop in place.

As always with an Apple product announcement, the company has produced a promotional video complete with interviews of Apple executives and regular customers using their products. The video for the digital textbook includes teachers talking about how textbooks are out of date as soon as they are printed and how digital-savvy students expect more out of their learning materials.


Apple has also posted a gallery of the various elements that can be built-into interactive iBooks with the iBooks Author app, including HTML Modules, Keynote Presentations, 3D Images, and more.

Apple's initial focus for its textbook effort is on high school textbooks, with books priced at $14.99 or less. Authors can continually update their content, and the students get to keep their copies indefinitely. Books are available via the iBooks app, available as a free download from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Top Rated Comments

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36 months ago
This is a great move. I really hope they work on the college/higher education project sooner than later. It is completely absurd that a textbook should cost what it does. They should not be free, but they should also not be $300. Case in point: The bookstore at my alma mater charged $98 for a used, paperback copy of Siddhartha. Nevermind that the price printed on the book (for when it was originally sold) was $12.99. Of course I didn't buy it. Anyway, I get that there's market economics at play, but there's also a bit of a racket: Why should the manager at the campus bookstore make $140,000 a year?
Rating: 8 Votes
36 months ago



This is a welcomed step. My daughters rolling backpack weighs 41 pounds. Filled with daily required text books.


The best is when you get to college and each one of those textbooks for a core class costs $100+.

You can buy an iPad for the amount it costs to buy textbooks for one semester of college at the beginning.
Rating: 7 Votes
36 months ago
This is one of those Apple products that seems good in theory but they never ever follow up with significant content. iBooks fiction content sucks, so does Apple TV rentals. In both cases, very little was done in terms of content after the initial release and initial promise of future content.

Secondly, until they have a desktop version and have logical syncing of devices (um..LAST page read instead of FURTHEST page read), this is still a B product to me. Being able to view things on a bigger screen would aid certain textbook type as well as being able to do homework / reports etc on the same screen you have the textbook. And once to go to the table of content in any book (or browse ahead of where you are) your sync is over - it's always go to the further page read and not where you wanna be with no way to re-sync. Those two items are killers in terms of usability of a electronic textbook.

Lastly, screen glare would make it difficult to read in bright sunlight - which many students love to do (i.e. sit on from lawn of school and read or in their back yard).

Tony
Rating: 6 Votes
36 months ago

I dont get why they had to change the name from iBooks to iBooks 2 though. Am I missing something?


iBooks 2.0. Second major version.
Rating: 6 Votes
36 months ago
It's interesting that a tech site such as this one has so many posters that seem to be afraid of change and can't see the forest through the trees.

This is the future!!!!
Rating: 6 Votes
36 months ago

Well as a college student.. this really doesn't do me any good. While it may be nice.. most professors don't allow any electronics in class that use internet. And I would love to use my iPad2 for books.. but it would only work if ALL the teachers were on board. Maybe in 15 years.


True...adaptation will take time! However, there will always be professors who hate the latest and the greatest!
Rating: 5 Votes
36 months ago
I'm sure Google is looking at their tablet market and thinking...."ah crap!"

Nice read on what this means for Apple (http://www.thetechblock.com/articles/2012/the-apple-strategy-teach-them-and-youve-got-them/)
Rating: 4 Votes
36 months ago
For those having doubts about people wanting to read textbooks on an iPad screen, keep in mind that the kids who would be using the digital textbooks are already reading/texting/etc on their cell phone screen nearly 24/7.

The mentality of the younger generation is generally quite accepting of reading virtually any amount of text on a screen, and most of those screen are orders of magnitude lower in quality vs. an iPad screen.
Rating: 4 Votes
36 months ago

Digital books with glossy screens? This Sucks.


Go and invent a better solution then. Mr. Armchair Critic.
Rating: 4 Votes
36 months ago
"And a big LOL at Apple fans that think this is going to change anything. School systems dont have money to invest in this. They're cutting programs, and Apple fanboys think all of a sudden every student is going to be given free or discounted iPads. How hilariously out of touch."

As a teacher I'm afraid you're right, there simply isn't the cash and to be honest UK education is based on a MS culture anyway. That mixture of cost and culture will be hard to break and will require real vision and enterprise to change. To push change will take something unmissable, something educationally astonishing which has a USP like it allows data to be collected from the books end of chapter question banks or something like that. Just being Apple in the grand scheme of educational ICT isn't that big a deal. It's got to deliver something compelling. If the textbooks I've seen on the UK site are anything to go by, I'm seriously underwhelmed. It's a lot of eye candy with little real educational value. Sorry chaps, believe me, I want this to work but the offering so far is very far from convincing and just doesn't cut it. :(
Rating: 4 Votes

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