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Apple to transform textbooks with interactive ebooks

Apple is planning to transform textbooks, joining forces with education publishers to announce a new interactive ebook this week.

Apple is planning to transform textbooks, according to reports. Sources say the iPad and iPhone maker will join forces with major education publishers to announce a new form of interactive ebook this week.

The Cupertino company has been working with textbook publishers since last summer, if not longer, the Wall Street Journal reports. As with launches of previous products, when the makers of big-name apps and games have taken the stage, Apple will be flanked by reresentatives of these big publishing houses when making the announcement.

Apple plans to come up with a tool for creating textbooks as ebooks that are more flexible and interactive than ever before, sources say. Those ebooks can then be published through iTunes and read on the iPad.

Ars Technica suggests the ebook authoring tool will be a "GarageBand for ebooks". Ebooks made in the new tool are expected to be compatible with other readers, if Apple goes ahead with supporting the recent ePub 3 standard.

GarageBand is Apple's easy to use music program, included with iLife. It's designed to be simple for beginners to learn an instrument, with dead easy celebrity-hosted teaching videos, or to create your own tracks with a vast library of samples and sounds. GarageBand requires no prior musical expertise and has transformed many an aspiring musician into a full-fledged recording artist, right there in their bedrooms. 

What we won't see this week is the hotly tipped Apple TV or much-anticipated iPad 3. But then Apple is always full of surprises...

Apple makes its announcement on Thursday. Would you use interactive textbooks from Apple, or are traditional books still the best way to learn? Teach us a lesson in the comments or on our Facebook page.