Apple to Launch 'Garageband for e-books' on Thursday? [Updated]
Apple's education-focused media event is scheduled for this Thursday, and more details seem to be leaking out. Earlier this evening, the Wall Street Journal reported that McGraw-Hill has been working with Apple on this project since last June. Now, ArsTechnica claims that one of the key components of Thursday's announcement is a new publishing tool for eBooks.
The current state of software tools continues to frustrate authors and publishers alike, with several authors telling Ars that they wish Apple or some other vendor would make a simple app that makes the process as easy as creating a song in GarageBand.
Our sources say Apple will announce such a tool on Thursday.
Apple is said to be announcing support for the ePub 3 standard as well, and hopes to open the door for publishers to easily create interactive e-books. Steve Jobs is said to have been intimately involved with the project for several years.
Apple's media event is being held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City on Thursday, January 19. It is scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM Eastern / 7:00 AM Pacific, and Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue has been reported to be a key figure in the presentation.
Update: Fortune claims that the report by Ars Technica, specifically including information from Inkling CEO Matt MacInnis, was "seriously overhyped". In particular, Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt takes exception to the claims that Apple will release a "GarageBand for e-books" to enable simple digital textbook creation, instead claiming that the reference was to a sample app that will be demoed by Apple as an example of what can be done on the platform.
MacInnis also mentioned GarageBand in our interview. But what he was describing was a sample iPad textbook, produced in-house and packed with pedological bells and whistles, that would serve as a reference design for textbook publishers, much in the way GarageBand for the iPad showed iOS developers what the new platform could do.
MacInnis does expect Apple to unveil new tools for creating iPad textbooks, along with a new content repository to make e-textbooks easily available to teachers. But the tools are not a "GarageBand for e-books." And according to MacInnis, they're designed to support the textbook industry, not to do an end-run around it.