Alongside the release of iBooks Textbooks this morning, Apple has also released an app called iBooks Author. Available for free on the Mac App Store, iBooks Author is a tool that allows anyone to create a textbook, storybook, or any other kind of book with relative ease. These books aren't just text either--you can add videos, 3D objects, photo galleries, web widgets, and more. Once you're satisfied with your book, you can then export it for personal use, or publish it to the iBookstore for sale or as a free download. Check out the video above for a full rundown of how it all works.
Today Apple took the stage in New York City to unveil its education initiative, and at the heart of it all is the release of iBooks Textbooks. Textbooks require an iPad running iBooks 2, and Apple hopes this will open up a whole new world of learning to the masses. Bringing with them dynamic, interactive, and updateable content, textbooks on the iPad become instantly relevant and engaging. Apple also made sure to point out that an iPad is much lighter than a backpack full of heavy books. The video above demonstrates Apple's vision for the future of the textbook. iBooks 2 is available now, as are a handful of textbooks from publishers like DK, Pearson, McGraw Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, focusing on the K-12 market for now. Textbooks are $14.99 or less, which is another breakthrough (although you won't be able to sell these back when you're done with them like you can an actual book.)
iBooks 1.2 has just been released by Apple, and with it comes a bunch of new features. You get support for full illustrations, AirPrint functionality for printing PDFs and notes in books, and more text fits on the page in iOS 4.2 and higher with auto-hyphenation. iBooks 1.2 also brings a new feature called Collections. These allow you to group your books similarly to how you can group apps into folders.
You can download iBooks 1.2 now for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Read More | iBooks
Google Editions is an initiative Google has been working on for a while now, their own e-book venture that aims to compete with Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and others. Word is now making the rounds that t's set to launch by the end of the year in the US. As Google describes it, one of the main features that sets it apart from competitors is the fact that the books sold through this service will be open, available through a web browser, and thus readable on any device that can connect to the Internet. They also plan to have native applications so people can access the e-books offline. Finally, referrals will be available, in order to create an ecosystem between Google and publishers of all types. The company will obviously need to create deals with those various publishers, but that is said to be well on its way. Prices are not known yet, but they should be equivalent to other stores.
Read More | WSJ
In an apparent effort to make it easier for the common-folk to publish eBooks, Apple has added the ability to export documents from Pages using the ePub format. As many of us know, ePub is the eBook standard used by Apple’s iBooks app, their eBook reader software for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. The update also addresses other issues in Keynote, Pages, and Numbers, but that’s the most significant change. You can grab the update now by firing up Software Update.
Read More | iWork 9.0.4 details
Just a heads up—one of the benefits of iOS 4 (which is available now) is that you can install iBooks on your iPhone. It’s not included in the OS itself, which allows Apple to update the app without updating the entire iOS version itself, so you’ll have to download it manually from the App Store. The good news is that it’s available now—so go ahead and grab iBooks, it’s free!
[Thanks again, Jason!]
Apple has released iTunes 9.2, which plays nicely with iOS 4 and the iPhone 4 as well. Once iOS 4 is released in under a week, you should see much faster backups and syncing, among these other new features:
- Sync with iPhone 4 to enjoy your favorite music, movies, TV shows, books and more on-the-go
- Sync and read books with iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 4 and iBooks 1.1
- Organize and sync PDF documents as books. Read PDFs with iBooks 1.1 on iPad and any iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 4
- Organize your apps on your iOS 4 home screens into folders using iTunes
- Faster back-ups while syncing an iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 4
- Album artwork improvements make artwork appear more quickly when exploring your library
You can download iTunes 9.2 now.
Just a quick heads-up for anyone wanting to start reading books from the iBookstore on their iOS 4 iPhones—the iBooks app is now available for download in the App Store. In fact, if you go into the App Store from the iPhones itself, you’ll get a notification letting you know that iBooks is available, and asking you if you’d like to download it right then and there. As Apple announced at WWDC 2010, iBooks for iPhone will sync your book data, including bookmarks, notes, pages read, etc., across all iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads that you have them running on.
Apple has released a beta version of iTunes 9.2 to developers, and the feature list seems to be almost exclusively related to iOS 4. The next version of iTunes will allow you to sync the iPhone 4, sync iBooks to and from the iPhone and iPod touch, organize and sync PDFs to iBooks, and organize your apps into folders in iTunes and then sync everything over to your device. Other improvements are there to make iTunes faster, both in scrolling, and in backing up your iOS 4 devices.
During his WWDC 2010 keynote, Steve Jobs announced some upcoming enhancements to the iBooks app. The biggest, by our estimation, is the addition of native PDF support. You’ll be able to drag PDFs into iTunes to have them sync up with iBooks. In order to keep things nice and tidy, PDFs will even have their own bookshelf. Other enhancements include one-touch bookmarking of a page, as well as the ability to add notes. The notes appear as post-it notes on a page. These are in addition to the currently available highlighting. Very nice.