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CNET First Look
iBooks 2iBooks 2 moves into the world of education by adding interactive textbooks with the aim of keeping students' attention (and certainly adding yet another revenue stream for Apple).
In an Apple event this morning in New York, Phil Schiller, the senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing took to the stage to introduce iBooks 2. An update to the popular eReader for iOS devices that now includes new textbook features. I'm Jason Parker for CNET and this is a first look at iBooks 2. As Apple's flagship eReader, iBooks is already a crisp looking app in storefront that runs on iOS devices, but today iBooks 2 moves in to the world of education by adding interactive textbooks with the aim of keeping students attention and certainly adding yet another revenue stream for Apple. Since iBooks is already well known, we're going to focus on the new textbook features. To get started we downloaded E. O. Wilson's Life on Earth textbook. Navigating through chapters and sections of a textbook works great on the iPad, letting you swipe to switch chapters or touch sections or pages to get right into the content. Once in a page, you also have touch options like a pinch and slide to return to the chapter screen. What's immediately noticeable upon launch is you can see visuals play an important role in presenting the content in iBooks 2. Big colorful images and other interactive media appear on every page. Movies give you the option to either view them within a page or you can touch a button to watch full screen. Diagrams and 3D models let you touch to rotate and even still images let you pinch to zoom to get a closer look. There are also interactive diagrams that let you look at step by step changes in a process and more free flowing diagrams that only require you to swipe a slider to watch a complete transformation. Finally, at the end of our chosen textbook, there are interactive quizzes to test reading comprehension with multiple choice questions you can check on the spot. As someone whose only options in college were traditional textbooks, it's easy to see the presentation on iBooks 2 truly brings the content to life. In addition to the wealth of interactive media in our chosen textbook iBooks 2 also adds other features that will be useful to students. All the vocabulary words only require a touch to view a quick glossary definition and one more touch to view the full glossary. If you want even more info, you can touch dictionary for the official definition or get options for viewing content via web search or by searching Wikipedia. You can also highlight areas of important text with your preferred color and underline words, sentences and paragraphs. If you want to add a note to a section, hit the note button and enter a text, now when you view the page, a small note icon indicates you have further info that might help you understand the content better. Overall we think iBooks 2 new textbook capabilities are an excellent way to study a subject but there are still many unanswered questions about how it can be implemented in schools. Who will pay for all the iPads, how will Apple avoid copyright protections with content made to its new iBook's author service and how will college textbooks be priced. Be sure to check back here at CNET as time goes on to learn more of how iBooks 2 textbooks will affect the education experience in the real world. iBooks 2 is a free download from the iTunes app store and is available today. That's it for our first look at iBooks 2. I'm Jason Parker for CNET and thanks for watching.