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 The video for the digital textbook includes teachers talking about how textbooks are out of date as soon as they are printed and how digital-savvy students expect more out of their learning materials.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
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?
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.
This is the future!!!!
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).
iBooks 2.0. Second major version.
True...adaptation will take time! However, there will always be professors who hate the latest and the greatest!