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.
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.
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.