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Thursday, January 19, 2012
Apple Releases iBooks 2 for iPad, New iTunes U App

Apple today announced iBooks 2 for iPad, tailored to present interactive textbooks for elementary and high school students on the iPads.

iBooks textbooks offer iPad users fullscreen textbooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, avigation and much more. iBooks textbooks can be kept up to date, don't weigh down a backpack and never have to be returned. 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 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."

The new iBooks 2 app is available today as a free download from the App Store. With support for new features including fullscreen books, interactive 3D objects, diagrams, videos and photos, the iBooks 2 app will let students learn about the solar system or the physics of a skyscraper with new interactive textbooks that come to life with just a tap or swipe of the finger.

iBooks Author is also available today as a free download from the Mac App Store and lets anyone with a Mac create iBooks textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books and more, and publish them to Apple?s iBookstore. Authors and publishers of any size can start creating with Apple-designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts. iBooks Author lets you add your own text and images by simply dragging and dropping, and with the Multi-Touch widgets you can add interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote presentations and 3D objects.

Apple today also announced an all-new iTunes U app giving educators and students everything they need on their iPad, iPhone and iPod touch to teach and take entire courses. With the new iTunes U app, students using iPads have access to a catalog of free educational content, along with over 20,000 education apps and thousands of books in the iBookstore that can be used in their school curriculum, such as novels for English or Social Studies. The iTunes U app is available today as a free download from the App Store.

It's not clear how Apple plans to get the books in front of students, however, since textbooks are subject to approval processes by states. Also, few students have iPads, which start at $499.

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