Apple embarks on next-generation textbooks with iBooks 2

Jan 19, 2012
Education

Aiming to press the reset button on the textbook industry, Apple today unveiled iBooks 2 during an announcement at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum. Says Apple’s Phil Schiller: iBooks 2 is a “new textbook experience for the iPad.” The company has a nice head start. In less than two years after unveiling the iconic tablet […]

Aiming to press the reset button on the textbook industry, Apple today unveiled iBooks 2 during an announcement at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum.

Says Apple’s Phil Schiller: iBooks 2 is a “new textbook experience for the iPad.” The company has a nice head start. In less than two years after unveiling the iconic tablet computer, Apple already markets more than 20,000 learning and education apps for the iPad – mostly created by independent developers.

Luddites concerned that the generations-old practice of deriving knowledge through black ink on white pages often bound within hundreds of pages will need to confront at least three stark realities:

1) Most textbooks that would normally run $50 or $100 or more can now be purchased for less than $15.

2) Several pounds of heavy textbooks can now be contained in one iPad.

3) You can’t swipe a textbook.

Success is not guaranteed

Having said all of that, not every Apple initiative is a guaranteed slam dunk (or in this case A+). Nearly a year ago at the same location, you might recall, Apple announced a joint venture with Newscorp that was supposed to reinvent the magazine industry.

While The Daily iPad app occasionally offers compelling journalism, it has yet to make a meaningful dent in the industry it set out to reinvent.

For every iPhone and iPad announcement, you also get yawners like iTunes Genius, Ping and a yet-to-be-prime-time Apple TV.

Still, a partnership with the three leading book publishers and the critical mass achieved by the iPad give Apple as much of a chance as any to turn the page on the antiquated industry.

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Stay tuned to Appolicious for extensive coverage and commentary on iBooks 2 as well as reviews of the new applications that will make it all work.

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Brad Spirrison

Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of appoLearning and Appolicious Inc. In this capacity, he has sampled and evaluated thousands of iOS and Android applications. He also holds an M.A. in Education and Media Ecology from New York University.

Spirrison worked in concert with appoLearning Expert and Instructional Technology Specialist Leslie Morris while curating and evaluating educational applications.

A longtime media and technology commentator and executive, Spirrison is also a regular contributor to ABC News, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg West and The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Spirrison is married and lives with his wife and young son in Chicago. As his son was born just weeks before the debut of the iPad, Spirrison takes his work home with him and regularly samples and enjoys a variety of educational applications for young children.

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