updated 10:55 am EST, Thu January 19, 2012
Makes for interactive, media-rich textbooks
(Updated with iBooks Author availability) Presenting at today's education event in New York City, Apple has introduced iBooks 2, a major update of the company's reading app. A strong emphasis of the app is on textbooks, which can include things like movies, animations, and interactive elements, such as the ability to zoom into cell structures in a biology book. Books now also support elements like indexes, glossaries, review questions, and turning highlights or glossary items into study cards. Titles can be read in a new fullscreen mode, and a Textbooks section has been added to the iBookstore.
Preview options in fact extend to the iPad, where a person can see a work in iBooks before they've chosen to publish it to the iBookstore. iBooks Author should be available later today at the Mac App Store. iBooks 2 is already live on the iOS App Store.
Textbooks on sale at the iBookstore will cost $15 or less, and Apple is promising that they will always be up-to-date. Publisher McGraw-Hill is released five books today, including algebra, biology, chemistry, geometry, and physics titles. DK Publishing is launching Dinosaurs, Insects, Mammals, and My First ABC. A book called Life On Earth said to be an attempt at recreating the biology textbook, and will be exclusive to the iBookstore, with additional chapters being sold at a "very" aggressive price.
Update: iBooks Author has gone live. The software is free, but requires at least OS X 10.7.2 to run.