Hands-On Video With Apple's Digital Textbooks

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Engadget has posted a hands-on video of the iPad's interactive digital textbooks in the press demo section of Apple's education-focused media event today, and they were impressed:
Interacting with the books is a generally intuitive combination of tapping, swiping and pinching. You can pinch from any page to get out to the heading of that chapter, then drag along a bar on the bottom to quickly go from one chapter to the next. When you're looking at any page, you can get a closer view of any of the media there by simply pinching it. Tiny picture of an ant? Give it a nudge and it's full-screen. You can then swipe through galleries, play movies and interact with various other widgets that authors can drop in place.
As always with an Apple product announcement, the company has produced a promotional video complete with interviews of Apple executives and regular customers using their products. The video for the digital textbook includes teachers talking about how textbooks are out of date as soon as they are printed and how digital-savvy students expect more out of their learning materials.

Apple has also posted a gallery of the various elements that can be built-into interactive iBooks with the iBooks Author app, including HTML Modules, Keynote Presentations, 3D Images, and more.

Apple's initial focus for its textbook effort is on high school textbooks, with books priced at $14.99 or less. Authors can continually update their content, and the students get to keep their copies indefinitely. Books are available via the iBooks app, available as a free download from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Article Link: Hands-On Video With Apple's Digital Textbooks
 

WissMAN

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Jun 19, 2009
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This is a welcomed step. My daughters rolling backpack weighs 41 pounds. Filled with daily required text books.
 

Drunken Master

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Jul 19, 2011
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This is a welcomed step. My daughters rolling backpack weighs 41 pounds. Filled with daily required text books.
The best is when you get to college and each one of those textbooks for a core class costs $100+.

You can buy an iPad for the amount it costs to buy textbooks for one semester of college at the beginning.
 

Blakjack

macrumors 68000
Jun 23, 2009
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I dont get why they had to change the name from iBooks to iBooks 2 though. Am I missing something?
 

ghostlyorb

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Jan 9, 2010
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Well as a college student.. this really doesn't do me any good. While it may be nice.. most professors don't allow any electronics in class that use internet. And I would love to use my iPad2 for books.. but it would only work if ALL the teachers were on board. Maybe in 15 years.
 

clarkent5477

macrumors newbie
Apr 22, 2008
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College books ASAP, please

This is a great move. I really hope they work on the college/higher education project sooner than later. It is completely absurd that a textbook should cost what it does. They should not be free, but they should also not be $300. Case in point: The bookstore at my alma mater charged $98 for a used, paperback copy of Siddhartha. Nevermind that the price printed on the book (for when it was originally sold) was $12.99. Of course I didn't buy it. Anyway, I get that there's market economics at play, but there's also a bit of a racket: Why should the manager at the campus bookstore make $140,000 a year?
 

nepalisherpa

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Aug 15, 2011
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Well as a college student.. this really doesn't do me any good. While it may be nice.. most professors don't allow any electronics in class that use internet. And I would love to use my iPad2 for books.. but it would only work if ALL the teachers were on board. Maybe in 15 years.
True...adaptation will take time! However, there will always be professors who hate the latest and the greatest!
 

Drunken Master

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Jul 19, 2011
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Well as a college student.. this really doesn't do me any good. While it may be nice.. most professors don't allow any electronics in class that use internet. And I would love to use my iPad2 for books.. but it would only work if ALL the teachers were on board. Maybe in 15 years.
I think that depends on the college/university.

I wouldn't say most of my university professors banned the use of Internet-ready electronics. Some did, but that was usually smaller classes (unless we were in a computer lab for some of my photography, video, writing and Adobe- centric courses).

But for a big, intro class in a large hall, an iPad would definitely be easier to use than a laptop (unless you're rocking a Macbook Air or a netbook). Granted, I write faster by hand than type, but a lot of people lugged their chunky Dell laptops to class when I was in college.
 

paulold

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Mar 3, 2008
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iBooks 2 takes a while to load on my iPad 2, I shudder to think how well it works on the first iPad.
At first it worked fine, in landscape mode. But then it started crashing. It doesn't seem to like it if I turn from landscape to portrait mode. I tried restarting my iPad but no luck. Now it just crashes after a few pages.

I also don't understand why here is yet another instance where even though I have the volume muted, the sound for the introductory video still plays. So in order to mute the sound I have to set my physical switch and then turn down the sound when the video starts. Why can't mute mean mute everything?
 

littyboy

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Jun 12, 2009
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For textbook reading, I prefer the hardcopy over the softcopy ANY DAY. Reading off a screen gets me dizzy and sleepy.
 

DonRivella

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Jan 8, 2007
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A potential killer app for tablets. If you could also work on them on a desktop/labtop and re-transfer the annotated books back to the iPad it would be even better. Sort of a OneNote Workbook with most of the content already added (OneNote IMO is one of the best things Microsoft have done in recent years, it's criminally underused and unfortunately not part of the Mac Office Suite).
 

C00rDiNaT0r

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Jan 12, 2006
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Well as a college student.. this really doesn't do me any good. While it may be nice.. most professors don't allow any electronics in class that use internet. And I would love to use my iPad2 for books.. but it would only work if ALL the teachers were on board. Maybe in 15 years.
Also, some professors in my school ask students to not buy the required textbooks from the school's bookstore or B&N, but the smaller bookstores around campus. I'm not sure whether they will want/let you get it from iBookstore.
 

Undecided

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Mar 4, 2005
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California
How is this better than an HTML based "book" stored locally?

Edit: Uh, I guess that's essentially what ePub is.
 
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Jensen G

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Jun 29, 2009
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For those having doubts about people wanting to read textbooks on an iPad screen, keep in mind that the kids who would be using the digital textbooks are already reading/texting/etc on their cell phone screen nearly 24/7.

The mentality of the younger generation is generally quite accepting of reading virtually any amount of text on a screen, and most of those screen are orders of magnitude lower in quality vs. an iPad screen.
 

Tones2

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Jan 8, 2009
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This is one of those Apple products that seems good in theory but they never ever follow up with significant content. iBooks fiction content sucks, so does Apple TV rentals. In both cases, very little was done in terms of content after the initial release and initial promise of future content.

Secondly, until they have a desktop version and have logical syncing of devices (um..LAST page read instead of FURTHEST page read), this is still a B product to me. Being able to view things on a bigger screen would aid certain textbook type as well as being able to do homework / reports etc on the same screen you have the textbook. And once to go to the table of content in any book (or browse ahead of where you are) your sync is over - it's always go to the further page read and not where you wanna be with no way to re-sync. Those two items are killers in terms of usability of a electronic textbook.

Lastly, screen glare would make it difficult to read in bright sunlight - which many students love to do (i.e. sit on from lawn of school and read or in their back yard).

Tony
 

parseckadet

macrumors 65816
Dec 13, 2010
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Denver, CO
I was all excited for this yesterday, mainly because I thought Apple was going to make it easier for schools to select texts tailored to their specific needs. And to a degree that may still be the case.

However, I can see now that my expectations were way too high. It's obvious that Apple is continuing this trend where everything in life has to be a "rich media experience." We're already creating a generation of students who expect to be constantly entertained in every aspect of life. All I see Apple doing here is furthering this expectation, not revolutionizing, or even evolving, education.

I'm sorry to break it to everyone, but school isn't about always being entertained. If it was then we would just roll a TV into the classroom every day and let the kids watch Dora all day long. Oh wait, there already schools that do that.
 

Tones2

macrumors 65816
Jan 8, 2009
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It looks like interactive texts are coming in at 800 MB minimum and up to 1.5 GB. That's a crazy amount of storage for one book - a definite deal breaker. Hopefully, the iPad 3 has 128 GB, or support for iCloud reading. :)

Tony
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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professors don't allow any electronics in class that use internet..
Most? I'm not so sure about that. Of the classes I've taken over the years, most have little problems with laptops and what not. Perhaps its a school thing because my college that I take classes from time to time has little problems with electronics and in fact encourage the usage