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No more textbooks? Apple’s ‘iBooks 2’ to revolutionize schools, study tools

Apple has announced its “iBooks 2” in New York on Thursday which is a textbook software program that allows instructors to program interactive teaching media for the iPad. It gives authors access to easy-to-use tools on the computer to create multimedia content for the iPad.

Books created for iBooks 2 enable authors to create content for students, provide multiple-choice questions with immediate feedback within the text, to make notes and highlight text, besides providing embedded graphics and 3D animations, full-motion movies, and much more.

Apple has also unveiled a Mac application called “iBooks Author.” Apple Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller says it is “powerful and feature-rich.” The interface is similar to Apple’s iWork applications and allows authors to format books through WYSIWYG interaction and format the pages in a variety of ways.

In addition, authors can customize their books with HTML5 or JavaScript, and the application provides live previews so authors can see the final result before publishing. The price of the books will be around $15, which the company says is an aggressive price. “If you’ve ever been involved with creating ebooks before, you know this is a total miracle in terms of time savings,” Schiller said.

A new iTunes U app for iPad will allow college and university students to download full courses from Apple’s iTunes U section on iTunes and lets students navigate through a course, and professors can customize their course offerings by adding office hours and credits as well. Instructors can post notes that get sent to students’ iPads and even make assignments through the app.

Like the offerings through iBooks 2, the iTunes U app allows for materials beyond the usual, boring college textbooks. Instructors can add audio, various documents for presentations or PDFs, and other apps for students to use. Already, universities like UCLA, UC Berkeley, and University of Paris are using the apps, said Apple, saying soon K-12 schools will also be allowed.

All the 3 apps iBooks 2, iBooks Author, and iTunes U are free to download from app stores.

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