19 JAN

Apple Announces iBooks 2.0 Update, New iBooks Authoring and iTunes U Apps

by Marianne Schultz

Billed as a reinvention of the textbook, Apple announced iBooks 2 today, as well as a new textbook creation Mac application, and a new iTunes U iOS app at a special media event in New York City’s Guggenheim Museum.

The updated iBooks app offers more interactive elements to enhance textbooks well beyond their paper counterparts. An on-stage demo highlighted the multimedia features of iBooks 2 using a biology textbook, showcasing a video introduction, animated 3D models of cells, access to the glossary simply by tapping on a word, and comprehensive searching capabilities. Also shown was the ability to highlight text and add notes, which can be turned into digital index cards for studying.

A new Textbooks category is now available in iBookstore where high school textbooks will be available for $14.99 or less to start. Apple has partnered with major publishers Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who have made several textbooks used by millions of students across the country available today in iBookstore with more coming soon.

iBooks 2.0 is available now in the App Store.

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/books/ibooks”]

Apple also announced a new Mac application today to create the interactive ebooks for iBooks 2. iBooks Author bears a strong resemblance to Apple’s Pages and Keynote applications, offering a WYSIWYG interface with drag-and-drop editing to add multimedia elements. iBooks Author also features a live preview function to display a work-in-progress on a connected iPad.

iBooks Author is a free app and is available today in the Mac App Store.

[applink url=”490152466″]

Apple also announced a new iTunes U iOS app that will offer direct access to content from universities around the world, storing courses on a bookshelf interface similar to iBooks. The iTunes U catalog will offer entire courses, with videos, audio files, transcripts, and supplemental material available from the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBookstore.

iTunes U is free and available in the App Store now.

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/education/itunes-u”]


  1. Carson J Gallo

    You should allow your Sister Sites to embed the App Shopper App Embeds for Apps mentioned in their article, so it’ll be easier for users to view the App in iTunes or App Store. And for AppShopper users to check whether they own it or want it without having to go all the way to AppShopper and searching for the App.

    And does this mean you’ll be thinking about adding support for iBooks soon?

  2. Joe Ravn

    Interactive books will be a huge development. Really looking forward to flipping pages and being able to watch videos, animations, and engage in new ways. I think another strong innovation in digital publishing would be to fuse in gaming elements, where you would have to complete a challenge or take a quiz / answer questions successfully to move on. Or it could just be a fun element to add to the overall experience.

  3. John

    Note that anything you intend to sell that you made with iBooks Author may be sold only with Apple’s explicit, written approval and only through Apple or it’s chosen affiliates or subsidiaries.

    From the written license agreement:

    if your Work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or service), you may only distribute the Work through Apple and such distribution is subject to the following limitations and conditions: (a) you will be required to enter into a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary) before any commercial distribution of your Work may take place; and (b) Apple may determine for any reason and in its sole discretion not to select your Work for distribution.

    Ed Bott has a column about this:


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