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Apple reveals iBooks 2, iBooks Author at NYC education event

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.

For publishers Apple has meanwhile announced iBooks Author, a tool with a textbook focus, but which can be used for other publications as well. The software comes with a set of pre-designed themes, and a WYSIWYG interface similar to Apple's iWork suite. Users can insert movies, image galleries, 3D models, and presentations, and more importantly widgets, including ones custom-written using HTML5 and JavaScript. Glossary items can be added by simply selecting items and adding definitions. Portrait views in books have been made automatic, although authors can still preview them to make sure they work.

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969



    in 10.6? Apple is increasingly sunsetting OS support - effectively to less than 2 years or worse - this is perhaps the worst in the industry - if anyone can offer a hack 'for the rest of us' who tend to need stable software & operating system parameters I would be very grateful.

    There is a REASON microsoft still supports XP - I for one don't want to spend my spare time fiddling with forced migrations & obsolesced software every year or two !

    Apple has lost the definition of UPGRADE - it should offer an advantage, not become an obligation...

  1. c4rlob

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Lion only?

    I saw nothing in the demoed features that justifies iBooks Author being only for OSX Lion. At the very least Apple could've mentioned some kind of rationale for that in the presentation. I know Apple has never been afraid of leaving old versions behind -- which is usually fine -- but 10.7 is barely 6 months old! I seriously doubt there are a significant number of public schools already upgraded to Lion.

    I never thought I would say this -- and I know he specifically said not to use a 'W.W.S.D.' benchmark -- but I can't help but think Steve would not have presented such a major initiative with only Lion support without at least mentioning a rationale/excuse for doing so.

  1. imNat-imadouche

    Joined: Dec 1969



    the price of being an isheep :D.

    Yeah Macs will save you money on the long run. I don't see how

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