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Apple "Reinventing the Textbook" with New iPad Apps

At an event yesterday, Apple announced plans to greatly enhance the educational content available for its tablets, as the company seeks to make the iPad a 'must-have' learning tool for schools, students and teachers across the globe.

The typically slick presentation took place in New York on Thursday, the Washington Post reports, where the company introduced iBooks 2, as Apple moves towards "reinventing the textbook" as Phillip Schiller, SVP of worldwide marketing, put it.

The interactivity of an iBook, in contrast to a traditional textbook, stimulates students' interest and enhances learning; as such, Apple will offer more support for developers and companies interested in publishing interactive textbooks and other educational content.

A Mac app called iBooks Author which helps anyone to make their own interactive textbook has been introduced to this end.

A third application announced by Apple yesterday is iTunes U, which lets teachers distribute their lectures, language lessons, films, audio books or other syllabus material via an iPad app.

The strategy is meant to broaden educational content available for iPads for students from kindergarten to 12th grade. The are various other arguments in favour of replacing old paper textbooks with more modern educational tools; the former are ultimately more costly as well as making kids' backpacks heavier than they should be.

The textbook industry now consumes about $10 billion every year, and Apple would like to take a chunk of this business opportunity. Osman Rashid, executive and entrepreneur in the field of education technology, does not see the arrival of the tech giant as detrimental to his own business, commenting "Apple will raise a lot of awareness about digital textbooks and how education is going digital."