January 19, 2012, 1:49 PM

The iPad goes to school

Apple unveils an e-book app targeting the textbook market.

Lead Photo

Apple Inc. today launched iBooks 2 for iPad, featuring iBooks textbooks, which offer iPad users full-screen textbooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos and more. Apple is positioning the electronic textbooks as better than print tomes because iBooks textbooks can be updated by publishers, don’t weigh down students with more books to carry, and never have to be returned.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson will deliver educational titles through the iBookstore with most priced at $14.99 or less.

Apple also has debuted iBooks Author, a free authoring tool that enables anyone with a Mac to create iBooks textbooks.

“Education is deep in Apple’s DNA and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet. With 1.5 million iPads already in use in education institutions, iPad is rapidly being adopted by schools across the U.S. and around the world,” says Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing. “Now with iBooks 2 for iPad, students have a more dynamic, engaging and truly interactive way to read and learn, using the device they already love.”

The new iBooks 2 app is available as a free download from Apple’s App Store. It supports such features as interactive 3-D objects, diagrams, videos and photos. “With its fast, fluid navigation, easy highlighting and note-taking, searching and definitions, plus lesson reviews and study cards, the new iBooks 2 app lets students study and learn in more efficient and effective ways than ever before,” Apple says.

Apple today also announced the iTunes U app, designed to give educators and students everything they need on an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch to teach and take courses. With the iTunes U app, students using iPads have access to a large catalog of free educational content, along with over 20,000 education apps and hundreds of thousands of books in the iBookstore that can be used in their school work, such as novels for English or social studies, Apple says.

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