Apple announced today iBooks 2, a "new textbook experience" for the iPad and Apple's attempt to bury traditional schoolbooks. The company also introduced iBooks Author for self-publishing and an expansion of iTunes U for online courses.
Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president for worldwide marketing, noted the downsides to traditional textbooks. They aren't portable, searchable, current, or interactive, he said.
"We want to reinvent the textbook," he said.
Schiller shows a group of students lugging big ol' backpacks stuffed with heavy textbooks.
Schiller points out the pluses of digital textbooks, including their portability, interactivity, and currency.
Schiller noted that 20,000 educational apps already exist through Apple's App Store.
Roger Rosner, an Apple vice president, shows how a textbook looks on an iPad.
For the younger crowd, iBooks 2 will offer DK Publishing's kid-friendly fact books.
As of today, Apple is selling digital versions of textbooks already used by millions of high school students.
Six universities--Duke, Stanford, Yale, MIT, The Open University, and HACC, which is central Pennsylvania's community college system--have already had access to the updated iTunes U and have created more than 100 online courses.