Apple's 'iPad Mini' to Strengthen Education Presence Alongside iBooks 3.0
Earlier this month, several sources indicated that Apple will focus on iBooks at its "iPad mini" media event tomorrow, with reports indicating that both personal and education consumption will be of key importance for Apple. Bloomberg Businessweek now profiles Apple's efforts to bring tablets into education, noting that education will indeed be an important theme of the iPad mini unveiling.
Beyond the school market of course, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook will use the device to try to widen Apple’s lead over Amazon.com Inc. and Google Inc. and fend off a more recent threat from Microsoft Corp. in the market for tablets, which NPD DisplaySearch predicts will more than double to $162 billion by 2017. Cook will unveil an iPad with a 7.85-inch screen diagonally, people familiar with its development said in August. The current iPad has a 9.7-inch screen.
Yet Apple executives plan to make a point of highlighting the iPad’s educational capabilities at tomorrow’s event, according to a person with knowledge of the planning. Little wonder. Education spending on information technology, including hardware, was about $19.7 billion in the 2010-2011 period, according to the Center for Digital Education.
The report notes that Apple has realigned its educational sales effort to focus on the iPad, recognizing that school budgets and a desire for more engaging technology are driving a shift in schools' purchasing decisions
Perhaps supporting the notion of enhanced educational offerings coming to the iPad and iPad mini this week, French site igen.fr reported [Google translation] over the weekend on an iBookstore title showing up with compatibility for an unreleased iBooks 3.0. The Digital Reader later noted that at least half a dozen titles were showing up with the new compatibility requirement, noting that one developer working to create books using Apple's latest tools found that iBooks 3.0 appears set to provide compatibility with the latest EPUB 3 standard at a minimum.
Liz Castro connected me with another ebook developer who has been making ebooks for iBooks 3.0 for the past few days. He has been tweeting his progress and one thing he’s already noticed is that iBooks 3.0 appears to offer more Epub3 support. The fixed layout spec in Epub 3 requires the latest version of iBooks, only Apple hasn’t released it yet.
iBooks 2 was launched earlier this year with a heavy focus on support for new iBooks Textbooks, interactive digital textbooks intended to revolutionize education, starting with high school textbooks. With iBooks 3, it appears that Apple may be set to take its next steps toward improving that experience even further.