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Apples Takes on School Text Books

School ebooksApple last Thursday launched iBooks 2, its attempt to make the iPad a replacement for a schoolbag full of books. Apple also launched a small number of high-school e-textbooks.

Apples’ Head of marketing Phil Schiller, took the stage in New York to announce the new system, saying “textbooks have great content, but are heavy, wear out, become outdated, and are not searchable – problems a device such as the iPad can solve.”

The ebooks include Environmental Science, Biology and Chemistry. They include videos as well as other multimedia content. They are priced at $15 each . However, school textbooks tend to be reused year after year and also have to go through a lengthy approval process. Apple stated that schools can purchase the books for their students and issue redemption codes.

The free iBooks 2 app, which Schiller said was available from the App Store now, will let publishers include videos, interactive animations and other multi-media elements. Students can highlight sections, take notes, test their knowledge with quizzes and make study cards, as well as search the book. The latter, a slight advantage, as real books can be searched, but only manually.  The company says there are already 1.5 million iPads in educational use, making the tablet the ideal springboard for getting rid of paper.

Released alongside the eReader app is iBooks Author, a tool to make it easier to create digital textbooks. The drag and drop tool lets publishers easily add text and photos, while “widgets” add interactivity with movies and Keynote presentations

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