We're here at Apple's education-flavored event at the Guggenheim museum in New York City. Phil Schiller has just taken to the stage and announced the first half of Apple's platform that's going to "reinvent the textbook:" iBooks 2. Saying that there were 1.5 million iPads currently in use in Education (using 20,000 specific apps), the revamped book-stand now includes education-specific features to help the budding students of the world.
You'll be able to paw through content, stopping to flick through detailed 3D animated models of elements within, access video and definitions without leaving the page. VP of Productivity Applications, Roger Rosner said that "Clearly, no printed book can compete with this:" given the constantly-updated data available, that's kinda obvious. Still, you'll be able to read in a text-heavy portrait or picture-biased landscape mode and there's also the option to have random pop-quizzes appear to keep you on your toes. Annotations is an integral part of the system: you can add stickies to individual pages and aggregate them into virtual 3 x 5-inch note-cards for revision during finals. You'll also get the same purchase, download and re-download rights you enjoy in the company's other stores.
The company's partnered (initially) with textbook makers Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, as the trio are responsible for 90 percent of all textbooks sold -- as well as DK and the E.O. Wilson Foundation. Phil was gushing, saying that he couldn't "overemphasize the importance of these partners working with us." Pearson's High School Science, Biology, DK's Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life, Natural History Insects, Animals and My First ABC as well as the first two chapters of E.O. Wilson's Life on Earth will be available at launch -- the latter is free. You'll be able to download iBooks 2 from the app store free of charge, whilst textbooks themselves will cost $14.99 or less : a far cry from the $80 dead-tree textbooks we shelled out for in college.