Apple to Launch 'Garageband for e-books' on Thursday? [Updated]

MacRumors

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Apple's education-focused media event is scheduled for this Thursday, and more details seem to be leaking out. Earlier this evening, the Wall Street Journal reported that McGraw-Hill has been working with Apple on this project since last June. Now, ArsTechnica claims that one of the key components of Thursday's announcement is a new publishing tool for eBooks.
The current state of software tools continues to frustrate authors and publishers alike, with several authors telling Ars that they wish Apple or some other vendor would make a simple app that makes the process as easy as creating a song in GarageBand.

Our sources say Apple will announce such a tool on Thursday.
Apple is said to be announcing support for the ePub 3 standard as well, and hopes to open the door for publishers to easily create interactive e-books. Steve Jobs is said to have been intimately involved with the project for several years.

Apple's media event is being held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City on Thursday, January 19. It is scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM Eastern / 7:00 AM Pacific, and Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue has been reported to be a key figure in the presentation.

Update: Fortune claims that the report by Ars Technica, specifically including information from Inkling CEO Matt MacInnis, was "seriously overhyped". In particular, Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt takes exception to the claims that Apple will release a "GarageBand for e-books" to enable simple digital textbook creation, instead claiming that the reference was to a sample app that will be demoed by Apple as an example of what can be done on the platform.
MacInnis also mentioned GarageBand in our interview. But what he was describing was a sample iPad textbook, produced in-house and packed with pedological bells and whistles, that would serve as a reference design for textbook publishers, much in the way GarageBand for the iPad showed iOS developers what the new platform could do.

MacInnis does expect Apple to unveil new tools for creating iPad textbooks, along with a new content repository to make e-textbooks easily available to teachers. But the tools are not a "GarageBand for e-books." And according to MacInnis, they're designed to support the textbook industry, not to do an end-run around it.
Article Link: Apple to Launch 'Garageband for e-books' on Thursday? [Updated]
 

Dr Kevorkian94

macrumors 68020
Jun 9, 2009
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That is cool does that mean like anyone can publish a book as loog as its approved by apple? pshhh i could be a millionaire in hours lmao
 

charlituna

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Jun 11, 2008
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GarageBand?

Having used GarageBand it isn't that easy.

I think perhaps they mean 'iWeb for ebooks', which was very simplistic (too much so for my needs)
 

KPOM

macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
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The Guggenheim is an interesting location. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, so perhaps they are making a subtle hint at a new "architecture" for textbooks and publishing?
 

haruhiko

macrumors 603
Sep 29, 2009
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Having used GarageBand it isn't that easy.

I think perhaps they mean 'iWeb for ebooks', which was very simplistic (too much so for my needs)
I guess you haven't used GarageBand for iPad.

If you still think that is not easy, then maybe you shouldn't write a song. Paint a picture instead :).

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I seriously hope that Apple will once again re-define e-textbooks. All of the current solutions suck big time, adding burden onto all parties including the school, the teachers, and the students.
 

ejisfun

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Jan 7, 2011
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I would love to have all my textbooks as etextbooks. Even if it's just as simple as a pdf that's exactly the same as the written version, no interactive stuff.
 

charlituna

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Jun 11, 2008
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I guess you haven't used GarageBand for iPad.
No one said this "garageband for ebooks" would be ON the iPad. Or did you fail to catch that they are talking about writing the ebooks, not reading them.

That said, the process doesn't necessarily need another application at all. THey could announced Pages '12 with improved epub templates.

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I would love to have all my textbooks as etextbooks. Even if it's just as simple as a pdf that's exactly the same as the written version, no interactive stuff.
That's an issue with the publishers. They are the ones that get to decide if, how and how much. Hopefully they are figuring out that there is a market and a means and will do it.
 

telecomm

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Nov 30, 2003
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Pages already exports to ePub, why would another product be needed?

Edit: As charlituna noted, maybe it's simply going to involve a new version of Pages (something with better iCloud integration is needed anyway).
 
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FlameofAnor

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Feb 23, 2011
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eBooks are presently a bit of a mess....... anyone who has worked with the various traditional layout programs and tried to save out for ePub knows that the translation don't work well. Formatting is poor, which shouldn't be the case at this stage of the game.

eBooks in general suffer from poor editing and formatting. I'm amazed at the product that is released to the public today. eBooks riddled with typos and other obvious errors. For what publishers are charging for eBooks, there's no excuse for this kind of substandard product.

If Apple can release a quality eBook creation program, then I for one, will be happy to embrace it.
 

SandynJosh

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Oct 26, 2006
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I seriously hope that Apple will once again re-define e-textbooks. All of the current solutions suck big time, adding burden onto all parties including the school, the teachers, and the students.
I mostly hale this new development as a way for the rest of the U.S.A. to be able to put e-textbooks into their schools without having them fiddled with by the Texas Schoolbook group that thinks the universe is only 4000 years old and was created in 6 days. Authors won't need to dumb down the science and biology books to the Texas standard; they can make two versions; one factual and one fantasy.
 

japanime

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Feb 27, 2006
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I'm think the book publishers want a program that they can easily use to publish interactive textbooks with.
My company has already published a couple of fixed-layout comics for the iBookstore, and the coding was relatively simple and straightforward. Having a tool that would allow us to add more interactive elements would be fantastic.

Really looking forward to this event!
 

faroZ06

macrumors 68040
Apr 3, 2009
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Why call it "Garageband for eBooks"? Garageband is easy, but so are a lot of Mac apps. I'd call it "iLife for eBooks" or simply "Apple eBooks" :)

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If these reports are true, then Apple may intend to revolutionize the e-book market in similar fashion to way they did the mobile app market. By creating tools that are easy-to-use for writers, and then giving them a “store” to distribute and sell them, Apple could assist in cutting much the work and marketing needed to get a book to the masses. Of course, none of this is official, so we’ll have to wait until Thursday to find out.
I don't get it, is it hard to make an eBook? Isn't it just like HTML? Or by "interactive", are we talking Flash or HTML5 level?
 

NickFalk

macrumors 6502
Jun 9, 2004
347
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Having used GarageBand it isn't that easy.

I think perhaps they mean 'iWeb for ebooks', which was very simplistic (too much so for my needs)
GarageBand is extremely easy for what it does. That is: the tools it gives you to record a multi-track song either with physical or soft-instruments could hardly have been made more transparent.

Creating a nice song in itself has some inherent difficulty though and this trait won't simply be removed by software.

iWeb doesn't allow you to do much outside its predefined templates, meaning you don't create websites as much as ad content to a pre-existing one. Now, content being the most important piece of the puzzle anyway, this isn't necessarily all bad.
 

DaveN

macrumors 6502a
May 1, 2010
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What a great way to undercut Amazon

Books are Amazon's profit center. The rest has really low markup. This cuts into Amazon where it hurts. Play with fire and you are bound to get burnt!!!
 

Mak47

macrumors 6502a
Mar 27, 2011
751
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Harrisburg, PA
Garageband for ebooks? This is actually a brilliant idea...if it's what it sounds like.

I could see this; a blank ebook format that is already built. You simply type text or drag and drop graphics into it. Pick your fonts, import a cover design, create a table of contents and/or index if you want to.

In addition to them being ebooks, I could also see Apple adding your books to the catalog of i-things you can have printed and mailed to you. It wouldn't be cost effective enough to actually publish a physical book for sale, but would be nice to have a personal copy, or a few for family.

If you can directly upload and sell your books on the iBookstore that would be pretty cool too.
 

gorskiegangsta

macrumors 65816
Mar 13, 2011
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Brooklyn, NY
Having used GarageBand it isn't that easy.

I think perhaps they mean 'iWeb for ebooks', which was very simplistic (too much so for my needs)
Garageband harder to use than iWeb? To each is own, I guess. Anyway, the main point is that they'll likely release tools that are much more powerful and that'll make it much easier to create e-books. Or so I hope.

That said, the process doesn't necessarily need another application at all. THey could announced Pages '12 with improved epub templates.
It actually sounds more like a super easy to use developer SDK for ebook publishing rather than an app open to the public. Besides, I believe it takes much more than text and illustrations to truly revolutionize textbooks and "printed material" in general. My guess would be, a new ebook standard that allows embedded animations and interactive 3d models, and other stuff of that sort. As an undergraduate student majoring in Biology, I would personally like an organic chemistry e-textbook that includes 3d molecular models and animated chemical reactions.
 

neutrino23

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2003
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SF Bay area
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I don't get it, is it hard to make an eBook? Isn't it just like HTML? Or by "interactive", are we talking Flash or HTML5 level?
The original epub format was pretty much a text only affair. It could flow text across different size pages and use different size fonts so it was very flexible. However, it is limited to things like paperback books with few or no images.

They are now up to epub 3 which supposedly overcomes many of these objections. In a textbook (or any other content rich book) you want to embed charts, tables, images and videos. You want to fix the layout so that the text doesn't get separated from the images or tables. You would like to have an easy way to make the embedded video full screen and have the tables popup so they can be scrolled. You want to have a way to add notes and annotations and maybe share these with other people. You want the text layout to accommodate math and science formulas.

Go to the inkling website and see their example. It is pretty awesome.

I don't know if Apple will support just epub 3 or that plus a more sophisticated format. I'm hoping for something really great that we can use for years. I produce content for our group (brochures, training materials, reports) and it would be awesome to be able to integrate content and push it to an iPad or a laptop.

How nice to have a brochure describing a product where you can click on an image and have it become a video of an application scientist demonstrating some feature of your product with real samples. Or to have a popup chart that is larger than the page which the reader can scroll through.

I can't wait.
 

pkson

macrumors regular
Oct 20, 2010
141
1
That metaphor makes sense... doesn't it?

It's supposed to be something that for people who want to create content to be able to create it in the easiest way Apple thinks is possible.

If this does happen, then everyone in education would be able to release materials that are immersive, interactive and way more helpful than it was before.

Hope this works out well.

I'd love to have a spin with it.