Apple's Textbook Initiative to Feature Strong K-12 Focus, Aid Publishers Large and Small
Bits and pieces of Apple's announcement plans for its education-focused media event to be held tomorrow are continuing to flow in, and Bloomberg now weighs in with its sources indicating that the company's new publishing tools will have a strong focus on shaking up the kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) textbook market.
At an event in New York tomorrow, Apple will announce a set of tools that make it easier to publish interactive textbooks and other digital educational content, said two people with knowledge of the announcement, who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.
The plans, to be unveiled by Apple Internet software chief Eddy Cue, are aimed at broadening the educational materials available for the iPad, especially for students in kindergarten to 12th grade, the people said. By setting its sights on the $10 billion-a-year textbook industry, Apple is using the tablet to encourage students to shun costly tomes that weigh down backpacks in favor of less-expensive, interactive digital books that can be updated anywhere via the Web.
Echoing some of what was covered in an Ars Technica report earlier this week, Bloomberg's sources claim that Apple's announcements will include support for a new ePub standard and tools to make it easier for both large publishers and self-publishers to bring their content to the iPad.
Apple’s new software is designed for a broad range of authors to be able to publish the content in a digital format, similar to what Amazon.com Inc. does with its direct publishing tools, said the people. Large publishers will be able to create digital versions of textbooks, with embedded graphics and video.
Apple also wants to empower “self-publishers” to create new kinds of teaching tools, said the people. Teachers could use it to design materials for that week’s lesson. Scientists, historians and other authors could publish professional-looking content without a deal with a publisher.
Apple's media event is scheduled to kick off at 10:00 AM Eastern / 7:00 AM Pacific tomorrow, with Eddy Cue and Roger Rosner expected to play prominent roles in the presentation.