iBooks 2, iBooks Author and iTunes U: A complete guide to Apple’s education announcement

Apple is known to create waves with every announcement and its education announcement was no different. But what does it mean for you and me? How does it affect us? Read on.

Compared to the average Apple event, this one was quite a minnow. Held at the Guggenheim museum in New York, Apple’s education event was a preview to Apple’s full-fledged venture into the educational publishing industry. Apple unveiled the iBooks 2, iBooks Author and iTunes U at the event.

“In like 5 minutes flat, we created an e-book and deployed it to the iPad. I hope you find that as inspiring and empowering as I do. So now you’ve seen, anyone can create interactive books. You can start with customizable templates, you can create multitouch widgets, you can extend that experience.” Apple’s Phil Schiller said at the event.

Apple’s effort is to broaden the current database of 20,000 learning-based apps for education and change the way we read, write and teach. Lets see if it manages to impress us:

iBooks 2: Apple’s first innings with iBooks, was in itself quite impressive in itself, but iBooks 2 takes it to the next level. It looks more like those Britannica CD-ROMs from a decade back. While you don’t need a CD-ROM here, but in fact you can download full textbooks, which range from free to $14.99 (Rs. 750 app.) The thing with these textbooks is that they are pretty intuitive. You can tap, swipe and pinch much faster than the previous version. Not only that, its endowed with widgets, that authors can place themselves and readers can use as research tools. They can swipe and see galleries, movies and what no. you can also easily take notes by highlighting any word and swiping it to the side here a notepad opens there. The only glitches we found with iBooks 2 were that firstly the files are quite big (like 965Mb – 2.77 GB). So, if you are a voracious reader, you will need more than a couple of iPads for whole your collection. Secondly, its just too fun! Its kind takes an edge away from the whole textbooky feel.

iBooks Author: If there can be an iBooks for readers, shouldn’t there be one for writers? Apple has come up with the iBooks author, which lets people write books for free, just that they should be designed exclusively for Apple. Authors decide what layout, text and images they want. While the application is designed for Macs, the books designed will also be displayed on iPads. It also has JavaScript and HTML 5, which lets you customize your content for the web. Before you start embarking on writing a book though, let us inform you that Apple takes a 30 percent cut from whatever you make.

iTunes U: The iTunes U used to be an amazing way to get podcasted lectures on an iPod or an iPad. So what does Apple do to make already great thin even better? It gives it a dedicated app. This time you will even get a teacher Bio, a Syllabus, course description and an over. You can even get assignments here about specific parts of your textbook. These assignments can be maintained in a checklist where you can mark it complete. For instance, you can have ‘read Chapter 13’ as your assignment. What’s more is that you can now even takes notes while reading. It’s the new way to do homework!

The future of Apple’s education endeavor depends on how schools and colleges take it forward. Currently, all the material is designed for the U.S., but we hope some day it can become hand for us too.

So, that’s a wrap on what’s happening at Apple for now. Stay tuned for more from our side.