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 The video for the digital textbook includes teachers talking about how textbooks are out of date as soon as they are printed and how digital-savvy students expect more out of their learning materials.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]

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Top Rated Comments

clarkent5477 Avatar
163 months ago
College books ASAP, please

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?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Drunken Master Avatar
163 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.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mattkap Avatar
163 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!!!!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tones2 Avatar
163 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
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cougarcat Avatar
163 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.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nepalisherpa Avatar
163 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!
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)