Apple brings iPad to the classroom with iBooks 2

For weeks, the rumor mills have been swirling about Apple’s next big announcement. Would it be the long-anticipated Apple TV? The next generation iPad? A digital self-publishing platform? The news is finally out. Today, Apple invited guests to The Guggenheim Museum in New York and announced iBooks 2 for iPad and iBooks Author.

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Apple announced today it was offering software that would reinvent the school textbook,  a pet project of Apple’s late co-founder and CEO, Steve Jobs.

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Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing chief revealed two new applications at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum: iBooks 2, a free download for iPads and iBooks Author a tool he said authors and publishers (as well as students and others) can use on a computer to create interactive iPad lessons.

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According to a press release on Apple’s website: Today Apple announced iBooks 2 for iPad, featuring iBooks textbooks, an entirely new kind of textbook that’s dynamic, engaging and truly interactive. iBooks textbooks offer iPad users gorgeous, full-screen textbooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, unrivaled navigation and much more. iBooks textbooks can be kept up to date, won’t weigh down a backpack and never have to be returned. Leading education services companies, including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson, will deliver educational titles on the iBookstore? with most priced at $14.99 or less. And with the new iBooks Author, a free authoring tool available today, anyone with a Mac® can create stunning iBooks textbooks.

“Education is deep in Apple’s DNA and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet. With 1.5 million iPads already in use in education institutions, including over 1,000 one-to-one deployments, iPad is rapidly being adopted by schools across the US and around the world,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Now with iBooks 2 for iPad, students have a more dynamic, engaging and truly interactive way to read and learn, using the device they already love.”

Download the iBooks 2 and iBooks Author apps for free today

Apple also announced that today, the new iBooks 2 app can be downloaded from the App store for free. iBooks Author is also available today as a free download from the Mac App Store and lets anyone with a Mac create stunning iBooks textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books and more, and publish them to Apple’s iBookstore.