Apple iBooks 2, iBooks Author to ‘reinvent textbooks’

January 20, 2012
iBooks 2

iBooks 2 (credit: Apple Inc.)

Apple introduced iBooks 2 in a media event Thursday. A “GarageBand for e-books,” iBooks 2 is a textbook software program that allows textbook-makers and instructors to create rich, interactive teaching media for the iPad, Ars Technica reports.

Books created for iBooks 2 can have all manner of media attached, complete with multitouch capabilities.

iBooks 2 authors can create engaging content for students in multiple ways, including multiple-choice questions with immediate feedback within the text, the ability to make notes and highlights that can be found in a single location as note cards or sprinkled throughout the text, ways to explore embedded graphics and 3D animations, and full-motion movies.

iBooks Author

Apple Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller also announced a “powerful and feature-rich” Mac app called “iBooks Author” that allows authors to format books through WYSIWYG interaction in a variety of ways, also using HTML5 or JavaScript, with live previews.

iBooks 2

iBooks 2 (credit: Apple Inc.)

Several educators are particularly bullish on the impact that Apple’s move into the digital textbook market will have on both teaching and learning, Ars Technica reports.

Matthew Gray, Assistant Professor of Arts, Media, and Design at Boston’s Northeastern University, says  iBooks 2 and iBooks Author will be a “fantastic” improvement over what’s commonly used in universities now.

And Abilene Christian University director of educational innovation Dr. William Rankin described the potential for a revolution in learning comparable to Gutenberg’s introduction of the printing press. Interactive digital texts like those demonstrated by Apple will allow learning to “transgress walls,” and the iPad’s mobility will allow learning to happen “in situ,” in whatever context is most appropriate.

“This will democratize the relationship between content producers and consumers. A teacher will be able to do anything they need for their class, and not be as dependent on textbook publishers or school administrations,” he said.