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Apple Launches iBooks 2, iBooks Author

Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller breaks down the details of iBooks 2 at Thursdays New York event.
Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller breaks down the details of iBooks 2 at Thursday's New York event. Photo by Tim Sohn.
At a press event held Thursday morning at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Apple introduced iBooks 2, a new version of the company's e-book software for iPad that adds new textbook functionality. The company also announced iBooks Author, which provides free, interactive tools to create e-books.

As Apple described it, iBooks 2 is designed to provide "gorgeous, fullscreen textbooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, unrivaled navigation and much more." The app itself is free. Textbooks will be available for $14.99 or less in most cases, according to the company.

Educational partners providing e-textbooks in the iBooks2 store include Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.

Genevieve Share, Pearson’s CIO and director of digital strategy, said that the pricing model is on a per student/per year basis. “That works for us. Our plan is always to make as many books available and affordable to as many students as possible."

Apple's new e-book authoring tool, iBooks Author, is also available as of today. iBooks Author is a new native Mac OS X tool that will allow users to create e-books for the iPad on their Macs.

It offers:

iBooks Author requires Mac OS X 10.7.2 or newer.
iBooks Author requires Mac OS X 10.7.2 or newer.

  • Basic book templates with pre-defined colors, textures, and fonts;
  • The ability to create and save custom templates;
  • A tool for building a TOC;
  • Support for importing from common word processing formats;
  • The ability to add multimedia, including interactive 3D objects and HTML, anywhere on a page;
  • Support for Widgets;
  • Accessibility tools, including descriptions for widgets; and
  • The ability to export to PDF or to the iBooks format or to submit the book to the iBookstore for publication.

iBooks Author is available now as a free download.

Apple also unveiled the iTunes U app for iPad, which allows educators to create and deliver online courses for free. As of today, there are six universities offering online courses. iTunes U is also now available to K-12 educators. According to Apple, starting today, all K-12 schools can provide "full courses through the iTunes U app. iTunes U has already become an incredibly popular learning tool for students with over 700 million downloads."

A Web-based tool is also being provided to allow educators to create and manage their courses, create and share quizzes, and provide access to other sorts of materials. The tool can link to online resources, and educators can also upload their own documents to share with students, including Apple iWorks documents and e-books created with iBooks Author.

More information about iBooks can be found on Apple's site.

Therese Mageau contributed to this article.

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