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.

Top Rated Comments

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114 months ago

Having used GarageBand it isn't that easy.

I think perhaps they mean 'iWeb for ebooks', which was very simplistic (too much so for my needs)

I guess you haven't used GarageBand for iPad.

If you still think that is not easy, then maybe you shouldn't write a song. Paint a picture instead :-).

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I seriously hope that Apple will once again re-define e-textbooks. All of the current solutions suck big time, adding burden onto all parties including the school, the teachers, and the students.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
114 months ago
eBooks are presently a bit of a mess....... anyone who has worked with the various traditional layout programs and tried to save out for ePub knows that the translation don't work well. Formatting is poor, which shouldn't be the case at this stage of the game.

eBooks in general suffer from poor editing and formatting. I'm amazed at the product that is released to the public today. eBooks riddled with typos and other obvious errors. For what publishers are charging for eBooks, there's no excuse for this kind of substandard product.

If Apple can release a quality eBook creation program, then I for one, will be happy to embrace it.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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114 months ago
The Guggenheim is an interesting location. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, so perhaps they are making a subtle hint at a new "architecture" for textbooks and publishing?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
114 months ago

Why call it "Garageband for eBooks"? Garageband is easy, but so are a lot of Mac apps. I'd call it "iLife for eBooks" or simply "Apple eBooks" :)


I believe the term "Garageband for eBooks" is a metaphor. ;)
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
114 months ago

I seriously hope that Apple will once again re-define e-textbooks. All of the current solutions suck big time, adding burden onto all parties including the school, the teachers, and the students.


I mostly hale this new development as a way for the rest of the U.S.A. to be able to put e-textbooks into their schools without having them fiddled with by the Texas Schoolbook group that thinks the universe is only 4000 years old and was created in 6 days. Authors won't need to dumb down the science and biology books to the Texas standard; they can make two versions; one factual and one fantasy.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
114 months ago
I would love to have all my textbooks as etextbooks. Even if it's just as simple as a pdf that's exactly the same as the written version, no interactive stuff.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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