back to article Apple launches three-pronged education assault

As expected, Apple has announced a major foray into the education arena with the release of three new – and free – apps, one for reading interactive textbooks, another for creating said textbooks, and a third for accessing K-12, college, and university course materials in iTunes U. More than the apps themselves, what Apple has …

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  1. K. Adams
    Childcatcher

    Get 'em while they're young...

    You instil brand loyalty into impressionable youth, and guarantee a sustained market for your products in the bargain.

    Ingenious! (Or ingenuous, not sure which...)

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Devil

      At least quote properly

      He gives the kids free samples,

      Because he knows full well

      That today's young innocent faces

      Will be tomorrow's clientele.

      Tom Lehrer, "The Old Dope Peddler"

    2. LarsG

      LOOKING AT BACK LIT SCREENS....

      All day, fantastic exercise for your eyes!

      The clever people will train as opticians because in 10 years time the condition 'appleye' will be so prevalent there will be huge opportunities to make money out of them.

      1. Trygve
        FAIL

        Backlit screens..

        Yes, that's right. Almost everyone in the western world is now blind, as a result of watching TV and looking at computer monitors their lives. We all have to be led around by elderly people who grew up before TVs and monitors were invented. Thank god for seeing-eye pensioners, I say.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Actually....

          ..you may want to check your facts...

          http://www.youreyeguide.co.uk/eyehealth/health-computerdamage.html

          Granted it's not a direct result of the display, but more to do with lighting, shiny screens, not changing your field of vision etc.

          Also take a peek here.

          http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/faqs/vdubreaks.htm

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Are the dangers of overuse of CRT vs. LCD, OLED, plasma etc. the same? What about CCFL vs. LED or EL backlights?

            1. Yet Another Commentard

              Eyes and ears

              I also think it worthwhile investing in hearing-aid maker shares. All those kids with their iPods on on the tube, I can hear the "tune" (very loose description) as well as they can.

              In a rather odd way I await the first litigation against Apple (and Sony, for the Walkman) for damage to hearing following prolonged use of headphones attached to a playback device. Or somesuch. One can only assume Microsoft would be safe, because nobody actually bought a zune. As far as I know.

              Now, being old I need to pop over somewhere else to grumble about prices, lack of respect, and above all, can't they play a tune you can whistle?

          2. MonkeyBot
            Boffin

            Actually, actually....

            Whilst they might not be sending people blind, the high contrast does reduce your eyes' ability to edge detect and increases the brain's processing requirements for grapheme-phoneme conversion. Our eyes evolved to be efficient in full colour under natural lighting so there's no good reason for us to be efficient on a bright backlit screen.

            However, if the program allows you set the background to your own RGB settings, it could be an improvement on paper books. You can already do this with Windows but OSX doesn't have a single setting that affects all programs - there are a few 3rd party utilities that will put a tint across the screen.

            Simply changing to white text on a black background would be a big improvement.

            1. Jim in Hayward

              This setting exists in the Universal Access app available in the Settings control panel on Mac OS X. Don't see this option on the iPhone though.

      2. JRS
        Coat

        Don't you mean

        ieye...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CATCH THEM YOUNG.....

    brainwash them, indoctrinate them, use subliminal messaging,

    Until finally

    They will belong to meeeeeeeee.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fixed it!

      "They will belong to i.......................

  3. Tom 35

    Should be love/hate for text book companies

    They hate students reselling their books to the next years students and have to keep creating new versions (mostly moving the pages around) to make using a used book harder. I remember one they tried shrink wrap licence to block resale. Now no one can resell their old books!

    But they are just going to love giving Apple 30% off the top.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I can see them biting

      Charge the same as real books, block resell, and they don't actually have to mfr and distribute dead tree versions anymore. What's not to love - even giving Apple 30% they might still come out ahead?

      The textbook market (in the sates at least) is a scam - always has been - and probably more so in primary/secondary schools than college (which, I agree, is pretty damn bad too).

      My favorite was always the professors who mandated we use/buy their books to take their class : )

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        @AC 21:38

        From my days as a student (very dim, I must admit), I remember the regular jamboree in the student union bookshop buying as many second-hand text books from my reading list as I could in order to save some money. I never felt the need to sell them again, but I know friends who did.

        I can't see that happening with iBooks (even it it were legal!), so there may be a fault in the business model, although give students an incentive to break the DRM on the eBooks, and they probably will.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Professors requiring their textbooks

        "My favorite was always the professors who mandated we use/buy their books to take their class"

        That's a perfectly sensible practice. Writing a textbook is a lot of work, and while some authors get a fair bit of income from them, many don't. And most of those who do have to update the content frequently, so the hourly rate still isn't very good.

        No professors get rich simply from requiring their own classes to buy their textbooks. Professors typically teach between a hundred and a thousand students a year (depending on subject area and type of institution), and royalties on textbooks are generally on the order of a dollar a volume. If you're getting rich from textbooks, it's because *other* professors have decided to require your book.

        What teaching your own textbook does is provide your students with the material you feel is appropriate for your course. That's why you put it in your textbook in the first place. Why would you select a text that's a poorer match? (Assuming one is even available - in many cases, there's no published alternative.)

    2. Chad H.
      FAIL

      @ Tom

      Just how much "Off the top" are they giving to bookshops at the moment?

      Or are you under the foolish impression the Bookshops are charities?

      1. Goat Jam

        Indeed

        When I worked in a bookshop the standard, built into the cover price markup for the retailer was 40%. Or was it 45? Still, it is more than apple's 30% and the publisher doesn't have to pay to print, store and distribute the book either.

        Also, with no physical books they no longer have to cover the costs of returns if they make a wrong guess as to how many copies to make at printing time.

        Really, ebooks *should* be much cheaper to the consumer than they currently are, publishers are taking all the cost savings involved with e-publishing and passing very little back to the consumer.

        1. ThomH

          @Goat Jam

          Technically a markup of 40% would leave the publisher getting 1/1.4 * 100 percent of the cover price, which is about 71.5% — slightly better than Apple. By taking 30% of the sale price, Apple are effectively applying a markup of almost 43%.

          Of course your other points are valid though, and the pricing looks reasonable. It sounds like they've divided the cost of a textbook that should last five years by five, on the assumption that each student will buy their own and not be able to resell it. Leaving weight considerations aside, I guess whether that's better for the consumer depends on what the resale price of US school textbooks tends to be.

          1. Jim in Hayward

            Resale value is VERY low, if you can even resell it! In over 60% of the cases resale is not offered because a new edition is available.

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Textbook resale

              Resale opportunities have improved for students because of the broader, more open market provided by the Internet. Many students successfully sell older editions online directly to other students. There's no financial risk to the seller (as there is to a bookstore buying back used textbooks), and the buyer often doesn't know, and doesn't particularly care, that they're getting an older edition. (Yes, professors often stipulate that students have the latest edition; and many students still get older ones, and muddle along.)

              And many university bookstores in the US are now renting textbooks on a per-term (semester, quarter, or whatever) basis. Apparently that's a viable business model, or as viable as the whole sell-and-maybe-buy-back model.

  4. clanger9
    WTF?

    Still can't read iBooks on MacOS?

    iTunes will happily let you buy eBooks, but there's no way to read them without an iOS device.

    Same with this software - it'll let you create iBooks, but not actually read the damn things (AFAICT).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      I have to agree - as a cross between Keynote and Pages, it'd be great to slideshow the eBook I've created on my interactive whiteboard in front of the students, using my Macbook. They can follow on their iPads, whilst I demonstrate and check for comprehension, etc.

      I understand Apple might be trying to encourage the use of iPads, but to expect a teacher to create a work, push it out to students and then have to eschew the use of the interactive whiteboard in favour of a handheld iPad connected to a data projector is, unfortunately, rather an obvious shortfall.

      I'm a teacher, clearly - I can see lots of potential here, but there's a little bit of fail, too...

      1. Uncle Hank
        Gimp

        Use an iPad...

        … like your students.

    2. stu 4
      Gimp

      xcode

      you could run the app in the Xcode iPad emulator.

      I admit - it's pants, but you did ask.

  5. Albert Hall

    1000 words

    Isn't that the Dell Dude in the yellow T-shirt? Looks like he's reading someone else's stuff! Dude, you've been Delled.

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
      Joke

      Yellow t-shirt is having a David Bowman moment

      My god, it's full of angry birds.

  6. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Oh good.

    So, that's Apple entering the eBook market then. Not sure where they pulled the _text_book part from though. Perhaps to appear like they "created" a new thing instead of looking like they just joined a segment that has been around since the seventies. After all, they created the portable music player, they created the smartphone, they created the tablet PC, etc...

    Apple's PR department is definitely very good.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Note to the fanbuoys

      This post wasn't a dig at Apple's brand new product. I'm just calling an eBook an eBook. And I bet Apple's version will be very user-friendly, as always. It's just not remotely as innovative as the rumour was suggesting.

      1. OrsonX
        Happy

        fanbuoys

        People who like anchored floating devices.

        1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

          Re: fanbuoys

          > People who like anchored floating devices.

          I was more thinking around the line of "light-headed, happily chained to the rock bottom, apple-bobbing (with the waves), hot-hair-blowing" but please do make your own definition.

    2. Fuzz

      textbooks

      The reason why they are textbooks rather than ebooks is that these are specifically books for learning in the classroom, which is what a textbook is.

      Apple haven't invented the textbook what they've done is created a simple publication and distribution system for electronic interactive textbooks. I think the concept is great but the tie in to Apple hardware is very bad, bad for kids and schools that is, obviously very good for Apple.

      1. nematoad Silver badge
        Stop

        Read the article on venomous porridge about the terms and conditions imposed by Apple if you use ibooks author for commercial purposes.

        http://venomousporridge.com/post/16126436616/ibooks-author-eula-audacity

        There you will see what Apple is all about.

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Nice

          So in other words if I want to sell an e-book, it's Apple only or avoid iBook author like the plague.

          For the TL:DR crowd;

          From the iBooks Author EULA

          "IMPORTANT NOTE:

          If you charge a fee for any book or other work you generate using this software (a “Work”), you may only sell or distribute such Work through Apple (e.g., through the iBookstore) and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple."

          With some extra stuff later in the EULA.

          1. EyeCU

            Oooh Nasty

            Some would argue that it is their software provided for free and so should be able to impose a restriction like this in order to get revenue to pay for the software.

            However, change the word Apple for Microsoft and how many people would be up in arms? Suddenly all the fanboys would be shouting as loud as they could about the evil M$. Anti competitive vendor lock-in like this should be made illegal.

            Should be noted that Amazon don't even attempt to put this kind of restriction on content produced for the Kindle and leave you free to port it to any format and use any sales channel you like.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I might have had respect for Apple if these textbooks were going to be published using open standards. As it stands Apple can go fuck itself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      someone forgot their wheaties this morning

      Eric, you can use your real name here, we won't tell.

    2. Chad H.

      the iPad can read "Open standard" ebooks

      Its up to the Author/Publisher what they want to use

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the iPad can read "Open standard" ebooks

        Yes, but can iBook make them?

        1. Jim in Hayward

          Yes. You can save in the open standard EPUB format.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New way of reading

    Yeah I bet, since reading on an iPad is still a serious eyestrain compared to dedicated e-readers.

    1. Chad H.

      No, but

      Its a completely different world from having to lug the textbooks around with you; and the iPad tends to be more useful in general than an eReader.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        The test of time...

        I have text books that 20 years old and other books that are older than that. I have seen 60 year old books that were still pretty useful. Plenty of people seem content to ignore things like total cost of ownership, longevity and other issues.

        The real problem with textbooks is not that they are heavy or expensive but that they are largely redundant. What demand there is is kept artificially high by the same sort of proprietary interests that Apple itself represents.

        1. Yet Another Commentard

          Test of time

          Paper does have its advantages. Some things will be the same 50 years ago as they are today, so the textbook remains pretty much the same. For example most physical constants won't change. The date of the battle of Hastings is unlikely to be moved to 1974.

          Moreover, the dead tree text books won't suddenly not work any more because the e-reader has been updated and is no longer backwards compatible, or the DRM has knackered your ability to look at it because you've done something unusual. Oh, and at the end of your first year at Uni, can you sell your e-books to the next year to get some cash back to buy the second year books you need?

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        "Its [sic] a completely different world from having to lug the textbooks around with you; and the iPad tends to be more useful in general than an eReader."

        I've never minded "lugging" textbooks around, and I'd much prefer a good ereader (e-Ink screen and physical keyboard, like the original Kindle) to a frickin' iPad. And yes, I've used the latter. When I want a computer, I have my laptop.

        If Apple put an iPad into my hands, as Rik wrote in the article, I'd hand it right back to them. And I'd drop any class that required an Apple-only e-text. Life's too short for that sort of nonsense.

  9. Steve Coffman

    eReaders

    I've been saying for a number of years now that it's just going to be a matter of time before we shift away from traditional textbooks to some sort of eReader in education - it makes sense from the standpoint of being more easy to readily update curriculum, it would be a lot less for students to have to carry around, etc.

    But in order for that to happen, the device must 1) be rugged - it's going to have to stand up to it getting dropped, spilled on and abused, 2) have great battery life, 3) be easy to update (if it's not a networked device) and 4) be inexpensive! And right now the iPad doesn't fulfill all those requirements - plus there is the issue (as has been pointed out) of it not being as easy to read as other devices. I'm certain the shift will happen, but as for right now for most educational institutions the iPad (in it's current incarnation anyway) is not that device.

    1. Chad H.

      I disagree

      The iPad seems to hit at least 3, with the 4th being very much dependent on your point of view. It stands up to my abuse (and believe me, abuse is the word) quite well, has great battery life, and is easy to update....

      1. Tringle

        So inexpensive on your planet means something at least 4 times more costly than the alternatives. Is there space for one more in this paradise, and how do I get in?

        1. Chad H.

          @ Tringle

          Which Alternatives? Are we talking about Ebook readers with signidifantly less functionality, that can't in a pinch double as laptop (thus adding more portability, and more opportunity to write whenever), or other device?

      2. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        @ Chad: "I disagree"

        "The iPad seems to hit at least 3"

        You can drop it -nope

        > battery life

        More than one day use away from the mains -nope

        Charges over USB 2.0 -nope

        > easy to update

        Could be discussed. Easy when you can log on your Apple account. Tied to some form of access to your hard-earned (updates won't be free -not that they necessarily should). Let's put this one on the "maybe" pile.

        > be inexpensive

        That one hardly needs adressing.

        So that's 3 definite "No"s and one "maybe".

        Please explain the train of thoughts that lead you to post that the iPad meets "at least 3", or be labelled a fanbuoy (oh, the infamy!).

        Disclaimer for the thought-impaired: getting the facts right is not a dig at anyone's personnal cult. Sheesh, kids these day.

    2. Mad Hacker

      Actually an iPad costs less than a semester's worth of books

      So the iPad meets all your criteria except price but if I remember right (and this was years ago) my semester of textbooks if I couldn't find any used ones was around $800 USD whereas an iPad starts at $500. Now assumming the books are cheaper electronically (probably not since Apple is going to add 30% to the price) it might not be a huge amount more. Even if it isn't the cost of the iPad doesn't double the cost of your textbooks for one semester. Assuming 4 years, 8 semesters, $800 USD a semester that's $6,400 for textbooks making the iPad only a 13% increase in cost over 4 years, hey that's not too bad. And now the iPad doesn't need to be tethered so it could replace your laptop as your primary computer saving you the cost of a laptop for college (ok do yourself a favor and buy a Bluetooth keyboard for real typing though.)

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Colin Wilson 2
          Thumb Down

          Thumbs down...

          ... for using the ghastly new 'K-12' thing when you meant 'school'

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            You're right. Everyone should be punished because they don't call things that same things you do. Please don't meet an unknown tribe....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Try selling?

        If you have a bought and paid for book you could sell it on to the next group to need it so the full purchase price is not a fully sunk cost, with care your US$ 800 investment should come down to somewhere nearer US$ 600 and the deal could be even better. Have you tried that with an ilock-u-pad?

      3. Steve Coffman

        I should have been a bit more specific

        While what you say is true for a college student having to purchase their own texbooks, I was thinking of education overall including public K-12. At the volume discounts school districts get for textbooks, it's cheaper for the textbooks than an iPad. On average textbooks run $50 each, and say if you have 6 classes, that'd be $300 - still far less than the starting price of an iPad. And I think the average college student is probably going to take better care of a device they had to purchase vs. something that is provided to say your average high school student. Since I work in educational IT I know how kids treat equipment and I don't think an iPad wouldn't last that long in that sort of an environment.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Devil

      Walk into a USA college bookstore with a booklist

      Take your booklist for this semester, walk down to the college drug^H^H^Hbookstore and if you buy new the cost is likely to be more than the cost of an iPad. If you buy old they will cost you an iPad once you buy for the whole year. 14$ is 5x reduction on the cost of an average university biology or chemistry textbook and 10x reduction on the cost of some law textbooks.

      The ones to really hate Apple here are not the book publishers, it is the universities themselves. Each and every Uni in the USA makes a very nice and very tidy profit buying back books from students which no longer need them at the end of each academic year (when they are "liquefied") for under 50% of the price and selling them back to students at above 75% of the new price next year. On average your average American Uni has extra 100% return on each textbook (that is besides the cut they get for selling "new").

      Apple (and Amazon with their Kindle for Uni programme from last year) have effectively killed that business. If I was the bursar at "Small university in the middle of nowhere" I would be pissed...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Voland

        The textbooks *START* at $14. I hope you don't think the textbook mfrs would really let Apple sell their $70 dead tree book for $14 *before* the Apple tax ($9.80 after tax... which means more than a 7x reduction in profits).

        If anything, I think history has shown a tendency to want to charge the same for a digital copy of something that they charge for a physical copy.

        I'm not trying to slag Apple too much for this - I *do* think the textbook market is long overdue for a technical revolution... I'm just not sure the walled garden is where it will or should happen.

        1. Eric Hood

          I buy a lot of electronic textbooks. The prices range from $9.99 to $50.00 and quite often pearson has a special where if you buy multiple books there is a 50% discount.

        2. Chad H.

          @AC

          Come now, be fair, if you want to talk about a "30% Apple Tax" because the publisher doesnt get 100% of the sale, I think you need to come here and tell us what level the "Bookshop Tax" is set at.

          Here's a hint: Its probably more than 30%.

        3. jai

          re "The textbooks START at $14"

          dunno what school you went to, but they didn't teach you so well in the reading classes did they?

          from the article:

          > with "most" of their offerings priced at $14.99 _or_less_

          so yes, a few might be more than 15 bucks, but most of them will be cheaper.

        4. ThomH

          @AC

          The article says: "'most' of their offerings priced at $14.99 or less". That's quite different from your shouty assertion that "the textbooks *START* at $14". It's explicit from the news released that the publishers will be selling their $70 books for $14.99, presumably because without a resale market they can sell a completely new set of copies every year.

          1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

            'most' of their offerings priced at $14.99 or less.

            "Most" is not "All", it will be the same as with CDs, $14.99 or less will only apply to the one that don't sell well. Looks like nobody has written any economics books that explain supply and demand pricing in iBook format.

            Added to which the demand for educational texts is artificial since the demand is created by the requirement to read specific texts and not by open market forces.

            1. ThomH

              @Field Marshal Von Krankenfart

              McGraw-Hill, amongst others, has explicitly said it will be charging $14.99 for all textbooks that currently retail at $75. Terry McGraw of McGraw-Hill has spoken to journalists to confirm that and to confirm that he expects to make up the difference through volume.

              Your theory that "most" books will be those "that don't sell well" and hence will be charged more is pure speculation and flies in the face of the announcements by (i) Apple; and (ii) the publishers themselves.

              1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

                @ThomH

                Excellent news THomH, I genuinely delighted to see that, do you have any idea if Gill & Macmillan or Folens are going to do the same?

                However I do stand over my comment that "most" is not "all", and to assume otherwise is just speculation on you part.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Headmaster

      It might also be an idea to have VAT removed from ebooks so that the schools and/or students can afford them.

      Also, an easy and simple way for the schools to have their own "library" of purchased ebook licences as not every book is issued to a student for the a full year or even a term. A "real" book might be used by 5 or 6 different classes over the course of a single day. Imagine the costs to a school if every student e-book reader has to have it's own copy of each required book for the whole school year.

      Then there's the second-hand book market. Anyone who has been to college or university and had any sense probably saved a fortune by buying second/third/fourth hand text books.

      Back in the day (fire was still "new tech" :-)), many of the text books I used at school in subjects like History, Eng. Lit etc were many, many years old. It's not as if Shakespeare's Henry V or Macbeth needs updating on a regular\r basis.

      Icon....well....because

  10. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Exclusive

    Anything you publish via iBooks is exclusive to Apple.

    No thanks.

    1. Colin Wilson 2
      FAIL

      Exclusive...

      Ouch :( Yes - you're right - the license (in iBooks Author) is quite clear.

  11. OrsonX
    FAIL

    The paperless office/classroom

    not gonna happen

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Errr...

      The paperless offices and classrooms are right up the hall from the paperless bathroom.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Paperless Bathroom

        There were just three shells on a shelf

        "He doesn't know how to use the shells!"

        Love that film

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have an educentric App on iOS & Android - in the UK all school iPads tend to run off a single iTunes account, supposedly you can only manage 5 - but its easy to get round and there's actually not much alternative practically.

      Until Apple introduce an LVL equivalent or volume/edu purchasing outside the US, there's not a huge incentive for publishers software or tree-based to take on the inevitable losses of switching platforms - even before the 30% commission and content exclusivity is factored.

      If they really want an iPad in every student's hand, probably time to figure out a way of allowing schools outside the US to buy Apps and manage devices - generally after the first misuse of teacher's credit card, the current prefered method is to re-enter jarg CC details and buy iTunes vouchers with petty cash.

  12. Spongibrain

    And indeed, Cocoa

    was some kind of teach-the-kids programming system before it got reused for Object C APIs

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iTunes will happily let you buy eBooks, but there's no way to read them without an iOS device.

    Same with this software - it'll let you create iBooks, but not actually read the damn things (AFAICT).

    Wrong - supports saving as PDF.

    1. Jim in Hayward

      Also supports saving in open standard EPUB format.

  14. Jean-Luc
    Thumb Down

    I really, really want to

    have my 8 yr old take a $500 iPad to class. The same 8 yr old who repeatedly loses his lunchbox, his gloves, his agenda. Not really Apple's fault, but expensive & kiddy school is not a good mix.

    For older kids, college, or even for company documents, who knows...? Can't be worse than the prices textbooks are going for. I'm curious to see how much innovation they've managed to carry out in this space.

    </mixed feelings>

  15. thesykes

    Hmmm... your average crackhead will have no problem getting a fix in exchange for a shiny new iPad, something they're unlikely to manage with a physics textbook.

    Cue increases in muggings in and around colleges and uiversities.

  16. Bunglebear
    Go

    Lock in?

    The use of tablets as a medium for education material is going to happen, and I agree with many of the posters that dead tree media forms for higher education are massively over-priced. What I would take umbrage with however is a lock-in to the iPad. Digital text books are fine, but not in a format which will only work on a single company's device.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    makes good sense to me

    It's about time Apple got something done with Pearson and the other big publishers, it's been on the cards for at least a decade. Did anyone see if Murdoch and his educational intentions are mentioned in the mix? Thought not.

    This generation of iPad - maybe not that great for all day use, subsequent displays / oled films etc, possibly.

    The book price is beside the point anyway. The big gain from iBooks or whatever you want to call them is hybrid content. No way are they going to pass up on using knowledge of what content you need to study when, and push / promote that at just the right moment. Cram-fest season or not. Students (and teachers with targets to reach) are the ideal captive audience. That way your titles get much higher reach, which you makes more profit then arguing a few percents on the cover price.

  18. Simon Brady

    Somebody think of the mathematicians!

    In maths TeX and its cubs are pretty much the standard for writing technical books. Surely Apple know the education sector well enough to realise this, and don't expect serious authors to use drag-and-droolware?

  19. John Tserkezis

    Nice little cash cow if they can get in on it.

    From my experience, elecronic anythings get trashed in schools.

    And the earlier you go into the education system, the more comprehensivly trashed they get.

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  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Finally and end to forced disfigurement

    The hell with uni textbook publishers. I don't know about you but we went through hell with over stuffed ultra heavy backpacks and also had to carry more of the ultra useless books on hand or on wheeled carts. Most of us ended up with shoulder and back damage which is permanent and leads to worsening posture and issues as you get older all because the greasy text book bastard industry who and their supporters on here can go to hell! As mentioned an iPad costs less than a single semester of rip off books that you have to sell back for nothing because I've never used a single one in all my professional careers since uni. Uni is a total joke, worthless rubbish whose only worth in the job market is that you will stick through with something no matter how useless it is. Probably buttering you up to be shackled with a useless cheap plastic PC laptop, low end kit and and a demotivational job -- Probably writing FOSS or Windows software for a living.

    1. Martin
      WTF?

      Why would you carry your textbooks round with you???

      When I was at uni, I carried a bag which contained the notebooks I needed to take notes at lectures, and the stuff I needed for tutorials. My textbooks stayed in my room, where I needed them on the rare occasions I actually did some work.

      I saw literally no-one carry actual books except to and from the library or bookshop.

  23. Silverburn

    Wow...

    I knew Apple had the education sector stitched up in the past, but thought they blew it years ago. That caption pic kinda proves me wrong - that's a lot of apple kit!

    Bugger the books though...I bet all of them are just trawling Farcebook.

    1. Martin

      Well, it costs so much to go to college in the US...

      ...the extra price of an Apple PC is trivial in comparison.

      And students, like most young people, tend to like to go with the herd.

  24. jai

    very much looking forward to what comes from this

    at the moment it's textbooks for schools, yes, but wait until the next wave of technical manuals and programming guides come out.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Plus they're interactive and Apple provides a tool to let you build your own. Contrast that with Word or Acrobat where you have a huge outlay.

  25. JDX Gold badge

    Um

    Why can't publishers _already_ create Apple-compatible versions of textbooks - just as they can for Kindle?

    The creation tool seems a gimmick, is the real meat of this the new "interactive book" format?

    Also - is that picture in the article genuine?

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Existing books are not interactive, just static text. You might want to read the about the system first.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Existing books are not interactive, just static text"

        And so the Apple revisionism begins....

        Actually people have been producing electronic documentation that includes stuff like embedded video, audio, and interactive illustrations for some years now.

        Apple haven't invented anything new here. They have just created another tool to do the above, with the difference being that this one that locks people into the Apple walled garden in the process.

        1. Jim in Hayward
          Thumb Down

          Don't let your Microsoft sponsored hatred for Apple show so much. Makes you much less credible.

  26. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    WTF?

    Giving it a fair shake?

    "That said, any effort to lighten the backpacks of students overloaded with hefty textbooks, along with making it easier for textbooks to be updated as scientific progess and historical events warrant, should be given a fair shake."

    It's a solved problem. We call it "The Internet". Perhaps you've heard of it. Apple's product managers clearly haven't. Perhaps their walled garden is so effective that they've forgotten the outside world exists.

    Factual material lends itself *extremely* well to websites because it has an extremely long shelf-life and no copyright protection.

    If something is true, it tends to remain true. This is provably so in mathematics and certainly true in practice in science and engineering until you are well past undergraduate level. Indeed, it would be rather scandalous if this weren't true across the board, since that would imply that we were teaching students something that won't be any use in twenty years time /even in that academic discipline/.

    Similarly, if something is true, you can't copyright a statement of the fact. Others are therefore free to take "the truth" and present it in their own way on their own web-site. Experience shows that quite large numbers of people do this quite voluntarily and there are whole web-sites devoted to small articles about stuff.

    And lastly, increasing numbers of lecturers put their course synopses online. These summarise exactly what students need to know for exams, which is a convenience you'll never get in a textbook. (I'm assuming that most students, for most of their courses, mostly just want to pass the exam and move on to the next stage. Is that too cynical of me?)

    1. ThomH

      Sadly, schools are broken

      I'm most knowledgable about the US market but over there the teacher shortage generally means that you end up with teachers having to do quite a lot of work outside of their own subjects, such as — for example — PE teachers teaching maths. Because they don't know the topic all that well, they're quite dependant on the textbook. Meanwhile, states require that textbooks be certified at the state level before schools are permitted to purchase them.

      As a result web sites are generally out as a teaching tool because the subject-hopping teachers prefer to trust what the state has explicitly approved and the subject-native teachers can do without the liability of turning away from the specified materials.

      The conservative approach that goes into textbooks prior to submission to state bodies therefore leads to children carrying around huge, heavy books with words that were fixed in stone a long time previous.

      Forget the Apple angle; any move to electronic materials — which are less regulated at present and needn't carry the same heft or price — will be a great advancement.

  27. CuriousChicken
    Devil

    1984

    A text book that can be instantly updated as the facts change. That would've made Winston Smith's work so much easier.

  28. M Gale

    If they're being given away...

    ...I'll have one. I just won't pay for one. I already have a tablet, laptop, desktop computer AND two smartphones, I really don't need an iAnything. It'd be like a downgrade!

    1. Andy Fletcher

      You will pay for it

      and so will I. Who honestly falls for the word "free" anymore?

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: who falls for the word "free"?

        Erm, politicians?

        Erm, every flipping time.

        Erm, even when you stand next to them and shout in their ear "IT'S NOT FREE YOU DOOFUS!!".

  29. Andy Fletcher

    Unhappy bunny

    My kids are getting set homework that requires them to have PowerPointwhich in turn requires them to have Windows. I'm not happy about this stranglehold, and I'm even more unhappy about Apple muscling in on the act.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Doesn't Open Office handle powerpoint files and has a version that runs on Linux?

      1. Andy Fletcher

        Yeah, I did try

        But the school issued the work in the newer .ppsx format. Couldn't get Open Office to play ball with it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          According to the following page Open Office 3.2 handles the file formats in question. Perhaps you just need to upgrade the version you have?

          http://www.openoffice.org/dev_docs/features/3.2/

          1. Jim in Hayward
            Alert

            Even NeoOffice, open office for Mac OS X, handles all these formats. Just update your open office program. Microsoft has nothing but their herd of astroturfers, shills and mind-controlled IT folks. And said team will do it's best to convince everyone on the planet that Microsoft is the only way to go.

            Set yourself free! Get ANY other OS besides Windows. Demand that you not pay for Windows on your next hardware purchase if you want to use another OS. The Danger is Real! The danger is Microsoft!

        2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: I did try

          That doesn't surprise me. I've had ppsx documents that Microsoft's own converter (for Office 2003 and earlier) couldn't cope with. I imagine Open Office (or Libre Office) is "playing by the spec" and consequently covers 99% of cases fairly well, but it only takes some author set in their ways to have something that doesn't work well built into their standard templates and suddenly none of their documents are convertible.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The one problem I had with reference material on my kindle as opposed to the 'real' copy was the relative ease with which I could jump from one section to another in the 'real' book but not quite so much with the kindle version. Novels and stories in general are a different matter of course, but in my personal opinion ebooks are not really suitable for learning, regardless of the device being used to view them. I have difficulty believing that this new system really changes things that much.

  31. ravenviz
    Unhappy

    "these students may soon swap their MacBooks for iPads"

    Will that make them look less grumpy?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely carrying textbooks is the only exercise that the scrotes get these days?

  33. JDX Gold badge

    @Ken Hagan

    A textbook isn't just a list of what's true. It is a way to present information in a useful way with examples and so on.

    Or maybe you'd like everyone to create all this material for free? I think publishers and authors deserve to be paid for creating educational resources.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      @JDX

      I'm well aware of what a textbook is. I can walk into my local bookshop and see thousands (one of the perks of Cambridge life). That's more ways of presenting the information than any normal student could possibly get through in their college years.

      But I'm also aware that for every textbook, there is now a free website doing the same job. This is new in the last generation or so. For the previous 500 years, the alternative to paying for a textbook was "nothing". Now it is "several different presentations of variable quality". The facts will be the same in all. (Well, perhaps not, but that's true of textbooks too and cross-checking is far easier online.) The presentations may or may not hit the mark for you, but if not then there are others to try, all for free.

      I'm not saying text-book authors shouldn't be rewarded. I'm just pointing out that they have to be a damn sight better at their jobs than they did in my day if they want to win customers. The market has changed, but the industry players don't seem to have noticed yet. Given the willful blindness of the music industry, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised by this, but for Apple to have failed to notice seems extraordinary.

      Maybe it's all the Web 2.0 twitter-fluff. Maybe everyone has forgotten that Web 1.0 was designed for the dissemination of information, published by the masses, for the masses, all at such low cost that there isn't room for a profit margin. (Actually, who am I kidding? Hardly anyone in the publishing industry seems to be aware of Sir Tim's original design goals. If they were, they wouldn't keep banging on about how "participation" was a "new feature of <some dross site or other>".)

    2. JEDIDIAH
      Holmes

      Consider it a bug with a lot of eyeballs...

      > @Ken Hagan #

      >

      >A textbook isn't just a list of what's true. It is a way to present information in a useful way with examples and so on.

      >

      > Or maybe you'd like everyone to create all this material for free? I think publishers and authors deserve to be paid for creating educational resources

      Sure. There are probably millions of educators out there that each is in a position to contribute to this sort of work. There's really no compelling reason that anyone has to actually pay for it. There is something to be said for paying for content delivery. However, the content itself should be easy enough to create if the entire world is collaborating.

      You simply don't need to create a bunch of petty robber barons.

      It was never the point. The actual talent probably thinks so too.

  34. JDX Gold badge

    Giles Jones

    >>Existing books are not interactive, just static text. You might want to read the about the system first.

    Have you ever heard of PowerPoint? Or PDF? You might want to read around a bit before believing their launch propaganda.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of the famous IBM advert

    Looking at the faces in the accompanying photograph, I was strongly reminded of the famous Super Bowl TV commercial that showed all the brainwashed workers gazing stolidly at Big Brother on the IBM screen. "Be an invidualist! Use a Mac like everyone else!"

  36. Weeble
    Alert

    That picture ...

    ... is one of the scariest I have seen in a long time.

    Even a medieval Jesuit couldn't have done better.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I do not want any of these "apple" students to by my lawyer, doctor, etc.....

    If there so thick to need to use apple products, I'd have no faith in their abilities!

    1. Chad H.
      FAIL

      If you're so thick as to not like someone for the brand of product

      Then I can't say that I'd want you to be my lawyer or doctor either.

      Seriously, its a brand. get over it.

    2. Mike Moyle Silver badge
      Flame

      @ Obviously!

      "I do not want any of these "apple" students to by my lawyer, doctor, etc.....

      If there (sic) so thick to need to use apple products, I'd have no faith in their abilities!"

      If I were hiring a computer tech, I'd probably want one who had spent his college years fighting every hoop that Windows or Linux had made him jump through to get them to work. If I were choosing a doctor or a lawyer, I'd want one who had been able to spend his/her time studying medicine or law, rather than computer internals.

      But maybe that's just me.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doh!

    Are they really just about to hand a very large number of college students an incentive to break the DRM on ebooks?

    It's gonna be carnage!

    Also, I certainly can't see an ipad being the winner once students are writing papers themselves. You will need a laptop - a proper one. I guess it might work in the US with it's penchant for multiple-guess. Not sure how to play MW on an ipad though.

    Personally I liked to write on my textbooks and not being able to flick quickly through would have been a problem. I also found that writing things out with pen & paper to be good for memorising and organising thoughts.

  39. yt75
    Mushroom

    new role, model

    ebook, epub, ibook, pdf, text, apps, websites !

    What is needed in this "affair" is a new role more than anything else.

    This new role could be described as "personal contracts/licences holder" "account managers for personal contract/licences and login/passwds or certificates"(no contents or copies in there, just references), something like that, several of them of course, and ability to move all your "assets" or "belongings" from one to the other, so that a trust relationship can exist regarding the privacy of these data (and privacy of these data also under strong legal constraints for these organisations).

    Then you can have an environment with a clear role separation between these organisations on one side, and editors, on line shops, on line content holders and difusers on the other.

    Which then could allow a user to buy an ebook, apps, websites (access to) "for life"(or with some timing guarenteed in a strict legal point of view, but "for life" in spirit), possibility of upgrade if new edition and you feel like it, and that's it.

    Enough with these "private bookshelves"(music, video, sito shelves) linked to some device maker, on line shops, "social network", or some other giant !

    A bit more developed below :

    http://iiscn.wordpress.com/2011/05/15/concepts-economie-numerique-draft/

    (and in the "copies_licences" text (2007) linked in the post)

    And almost EVERYTHING already there really

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