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Apple to host January 19 'education event' in New York

The company sends out invites today, teasing an "education announcement in the Big Apple" for next Thursday. Could it be a textbook partnership?

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Apple's invitation for its January 19 event.
Apple's invitation for its January 19 event.

Apple is planning to hold a special education-focused event in New York City next week.

The iPhone maker earlier today sent out invites to media outlets, asking them to "join us for an education announcement in the Big Apple." Apple did not disclose what it will discuss at the event, which will be held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Earlier this month, Fox's Clayton Morris reported that Apple was planning to hold an education-focused event in New York last year, but the company decided to delay it until 2012. Morris, citing sources, said that the January event would focus on Apple's iTunes University program.

Although Apple typically holds its events in Silicon Valley, Morris' sources said Apple chose New York for the event because of its proximity to major textbook publishers. He also said Apple would not be unveiling any new hardware at the event, despite hopes that the company would show off the next iPad sooner rather than later.

Apple's push into the education market isn't much of a surprise. In Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of Steve Jobs, the author wrote that the company's late co-founder had "set his sights on textbooks," since he believed the $8-billion-a-year business was "ripe for destruction."

Jobs' "idea was to hire great textbook writers to create digital versions, and make them a feature of the iPad," Isaacson wrote. "In addition, he held meetings with the major publishers such as Pearson Education, about partnering with Apple."

If Apple does unveil new textbook partnerships, it would be a coup for the company. Although none of the major textbook publishers currently have strong ties with Apple or its iBooks platform, they don't have arrangements with the company's competitors, either. If Apple can find a way to become the go-to destination for digital textbooks, it could corner that space, similarly to how it achieved dominance in music.

But who really knows if Apple will talk textbooks at the event? The company has so far not commented on what it plans to say and until it does, so take all the rumors surrounding the event with the proverbial grain of salt.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on the event.

Update 9:55 a.m. PT and 10:02 a.m. PT to include more details.