Apple held an educational publishing event at the Guggenheim in New York City yesterday, outlining three new apps for students, teachers, and publishers. The first announcement was for iBooks 2, Apple’s reinvention of textbooks. The free app is available today and features color-coded highlighting and note-taking, with a click-for-definition glossary; the notes and highlights transfer automatically to study/flash cards, and each chapter features interactive quizzes. The second announcement was for iBook Author, the anticipated “Garage Band for ebooks.” The new app (also free) brings the ease of use for interactive ebook creation on Mac OSX to an entirely new level—click and drag pictures, videos, Word documents, Keynote (PowerPoint) presentations, HTML and Java widgets directly into your ebook, and the text will reflow dynamically as you add and reposition elements. The app includes templates for making everything from cookbooks, children’s books, to math and science texts. iBook Author can publish directly to the iBookStore; the created iBooks have many of the same functionalities as iBooks 2, such as highlighting and note-taking, and a user-created glossary. The last announcement Apple made this morning was for an all new iTunes U dedicated app, which allows full online courses to be offered on the iPad—outlining everything from syllabus and office hours to notes from class, assignments, materials, or streaming lectures—and allows courses to be taken and followed for free from anywhere.
All of the apps are available for free today while high school textbooks sell at $14.99 or less, with Pearson, McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin, and DK Publishers all having books available for purchase immediately.
(We watched the event unfold live 10-11am EST January 19, 2012 with the Endgaget live event blog.)