Jobs transformed the way we consume music, watch movies and use our phone, so why not the way we read textbooks? Although Jobs, is no longer with us, he certainly had at least “one more thing” cooking before his passing. Jobs was always big on education and using technology to enhance learning. The reference in his biography where it said that he believed that the textbook publishing industry was an “$8 billion a year that was ripe for digital destruction,” was certainly a clue.
And so, it was so! Apple reinvents textbooks and takes them to a whole new level with the release of iBooks 2 for iPad featuring iBooks Textbooks.
These are the textbooks I wish I had in school. They are fully interactive and take advantage of the power of the iPad and features including multi-touch gestures. Plus, you don’t have to break your back carrying a bunch of them around!
At the recent Apple event in New York City, Roger Rosner, VP Productivity Software at Apple gave a demo of the new software using a Biology textbook as an example of how iBooks 2 brings textbooks to life.
The book opens with a narrated opening video. A quick swipe and Rosner immediately gets to the book’s Table of Contents and another swipe below reveals thumbnails of pages. He gives the display a quick pinch that brings up a full screen of beautifully laid out pages. And with a simple tap, he brings out animation of 3D models of DNA right inside a human cell. You’d never see that in a printed textbook!
“Now sometimes, you might just want to read the text, “ Rosner, says. So he simply rotated the iPad into portrait mode. This changed not only its orientation, but also the layout.
The text now runs down the middle of the page and photos as well as other interactive elements are lined up horizontally down the left side of the display. Sweet!
It has advanced search capabilities and an extensive glossary and is designed to help you study. Take review questions, for example. It turns static questions into a dynamic interactive learning session and useful study tool – with immediate feedback to boot!
It gets better! You can use your finger to highlight text in various colours and you can even take notes. And with Notes View, you can see all your notes in one place. You can then “collect” those notes and turn them into study cards just as you would with traditional index cards. The only thing it appears you can’t do is share your notes with others.
Textbook titles from publishers like McGraw-Hill, Pearson & Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt will be available from the iBookstore and will be priced at $14.99 or less. If you’d like to try before you buy, you can download free sample pages.
iBooks 2 for iPad is a free download from the App Store.
iBooks Author – Create Your Own
It’s great that you can get textbooks and now you can even create your own. It doesn’t have to be a textbook per se; it can be any kind of book – picture book, history book or even a cookbook.
All this can be made possible with iBooks Author. Its drag and drop interface will make creating your own masterpiece a simple pleasure. If you’ve used iWork or Pages then this will be easy.
There are preconfigured templates you can use as a starting point. You can then easily add a cover and with multi-touch widgets you can add interactivity; insert a movie, import text from a Word or Pages doc and even embed a Keynote presentation. You can also create and insert and image gallery and 3D objects, too! You can make it look just like Textbooks from the major publishing houses.
And when you’re done, you can publish them on the iBookstore.
Apple’s iBooks Author is available free at the Mac App Store.
Happy Birthday Macintosh
The original 128k Macintosh was released on this day, 28 years ago, January 24th, 1984. It retailed at that time for $2495 USD.
Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.
Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg.