Apple Announces iBooks 2, A New Textbook Experience For The iPad

“Education is deep in our DNA, and it has been since the very beginning,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing. On that thought Apple just announced iBooks 2.

This move is centered around reinvent the textbook. Schiller explained today that Apple sees textbooks as amazing devices, but they’re heavy, not searchable or durable. According to Apple the iPad is the perfect counter. It’s portable, durable, interactive, searchable, current and capable of containing even richer content.

“Kids are really going to love to learn with iBooks,” said Phil Schiller

The platform embraces interactive textbooks. Pinch to zoom on DNA strands, watch videos about the Hindenburg, experience learning in an interactive fashion. The words are still there. Apple is just making learning a bit more exciting.

Apple claims that this will reinvent textbooks. It will allow the iPad to become a text book of sorts. Schiller started out the conference by proudly proclaiming that at least 1.5 million educational institutions use iPads. The goal here is to make those iPads a bit more functional.

The iBooks 2 also brings quizzes to the tablet, which are also interactive in a new way. Students might be asked to tap on a portion of the map to identify something.

Searching for definitions in iBooks 2 is as easy tapping the word and they aren’t limited to just a block of text. They can also include videos and pictures.

iBooks 2 is available starting today as a free download.

This announcement puts Kno in a bad position. iBooks 2 packs many of Kno’s prime features into a native iPad app. Kno might have the edge with content, though. The company has long worked with the top education publishers and has an impressive library of textbooks. Kno, as a 3rd party app, has the advantage of being able to embrace other platforms like the web and Android where iBooks 2 will likely remain only on the iPad. If Android is to explode, Kno might be able to springboard to victory (that’s a big “if” though).

Apple also announced that Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt have signed on as partners. “I can’t overemphasize the importance of these partners working with us,” said Schiller. Starting today, several high-school text books are available for downloading for $14.99 each. These books are currently in school and used by more than four million high school students. More will be available soon.