Apple vice president of marketing Phil Schiller, took to the stage at an educational event in New York to unveil the Californian firm's plans to "reinvent the textbook" and push the use of its iPad.
The firm debuted its free iBooks 2 app, which aims to improve learning in the classroom by meshing all the benefits of traditional text books with the advantages of a tablet.
Schiller noted that although traditional books are portable in most cases and have great content, they are not interactive, easily searchable or updatable like on the iPad.
"There are 1.5 million iPads in use in educational programs. We want to help it to accelerate and make it even easier to integrate the iPad into the curriculum," he said.
"You're going to see textbooks about every subject for every grade level and every student, but we wanted to get started early."
During the demonstration of the iBooks 2 app, Roger Rosner, vice president of productivity applications at Apple showed the possibilities available.
He demonstrated how users can tap words to get definitions, access full glossaries, pinch into photos and tap diagrams to get animated 3D models. He also showed how text books can have a 'review now' option, so students can test their knowledge.
Apple has signed deals with Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and DK Publishing and expects to make textbooks available for around $14.99 in the US. The pricing structure in other countries remains to be seen, but is likely to be in a similar price range.
Rosner claimed that "no printed book can compete with this" and also introduced iBooks Author – a companion app that allows users to create interactive books for the iPad.
"Traditionally, creating books is really hard, but we think we've changed all that with iBooks Author," said Rosner.
There are a number of templates that can be used to get started and the app even allows users to pull text from Word documents.
Additionally, Apple introduced iTunes U, a dedicated app designed specifically for university students and lecturers. Students can view courses and syllabuses and access books, videos, audio clips and documents associated with the course.
The introduction of these applications shows Apple is intent on taking the lead in education markets and is likely to provide yet another lucrative revenue stream.
In targetting the education market, the company could also be looking to build brand loyalty with future professionals. Analyst Rob Enderle told V3 that the move could pay off down the road for the company.
"Students are seed corn and a relationship built and reinforced at an early age could result in loyalty after they graduate," explained the Enderle Group president.
"What they are attempting is very difficult but, if successful, could pay dividends for decades."
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