Apple’s Big Apple-themed education announcement media event will begin in less than one hour, at 10:00 AM Eastern Time. While no Apple announcement is a “sure thing” prior to the company’s events, reports from the past few days have indicated that the bulk of Apple’s announcement will focus on digital textbooks, with an emphasis on the K-12 market. In addition to potential partnerships with publishers, it has also been suggested that Apple will unveil its own software that will make it easier for anyone with the desire to create interactive, multimedia textbooks which can then be made available for download via iBooks. We’ll be providing live updates of the event as it happens, so check back here at 10!
9:50 – 10 minutes before the start of the event, attendees are allowed in to take seats.
9:55 – The event is taking place in the Guggenheim Museum’s basement auditorium.
9:56 – Despite the subterranean venue, the stage has the typical lighting and look of a Cupertino-style Apple event.
9:58 – Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller takes the stage, starting the event early – atypical of Apple.
10:01 – Schiller is discussing Apple’s relationship with education, saying that it’s “in our DNA”. Calls the introduction of iPads to schools “profound and remarkable”.
10:03 – Now discussing the challenges of education, notes that only 70% of HS freshman in the US graduate, and that the US compares poorly in education rankings with other industrialized nations.
10:06 – After a brief video, Schiller reveals that over 1.5 million iPads are now in use in the education sector, while highlighting the 20,000 education applications built for the device.
10:07 – Schiller says there are two things the company would like to talk about today, and the first is “Reinventing Textbooks”.
10:08 – iBooks 2, offers a “brand new textbook experience for the iPad”.
10:09 – Demo of iBooks 2 begins, featuring Roger Rosner, the iWork veteran who helped build the software.
10:18 – The books offer interactive glossary terms, indexes, searching, photo galleries, highlighting, and built-in quizzes, just to name a few features.
10:19 – New Textbook category on the iBookstore.
10:20 – “And that is iBooks 2”. Schiller back on stage. Available today, free, on iPad, iPhone, iPod touch.
10:21 – New Mac application called iBooks Author for creating the new interactive books.
10:23 – The new iBooks Author app can be used to create any kind of book – not just textbooks – but was designed with textbooks in mind.
10:25 – While the app was not announced as part of iWork, it is obvious from both the UI and Rosner’s involvement that it looks similar and will likely feature a similar workflow to that of Keynote and Pages.
10:28 – Easy glossary, interactive element creation tools being shown during demo. Very impressive. An easy, one-button preview button for looking at the work on an iPad.
10:30 – iBooks Author round-up: “Create stunning, interactive books, beautiful, customizable templates, Multi-touch widgets, photos, and videos, extend with HTML5, publish to iBookstore”.
10:31 – Free, available today from the Mac App Store.
10:34 – Textbooks can be found in the new Textbooks category of the iBookstore, launching today with high school textbooks priced at $14.99 or less. Early partners include Pearson, McGraw Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Between them they make “90% of the textbooks available”.
10:36 – Also partnering with DK Publishing, launching four books today. Aimed at younger students.
10:37 – One more partner – the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, launching a new book Life On Earth, coming exclusively to the iBookstore. First two chapters are free, the rest are coming on an as-they-make-them basis for a “very reasonable” price.
10:38 – Promo video.
10:45 – Schiller back on stage, “That’s the first thing we wanted to share today.” Invites SVP of Internet Services Eddy Cue to the stage.
10:46 – Eddy Cue: “going to help teachers reinvent the curriculum”. Discussing iTunes U. “World’s largest catalog of free education content, over 700 million downloads, over 1,000 universities involved.
10:48 – New iTunes U app – lets teachers handle syllabus, outline, everything on the iPad. Looks similar to iBooks.
10:50 – iTunes U app offers tabs for Info, Posts, Notes, and Materials. Teachers can post messages and give assignments in Posts.
10:51 – Enables students to download or stream lectures.
10:55 – iTunes U app round-up: “Full courses with video, documents, apps, books, Syllabus and assignments, Teacher posts and updates, iBooks notes integration.”
10:56 – A number of colleges already using it, have created over 100 courses already, all free. Also now open to K-12. Available today as a free download from the App Store.
10:57 – Schiller back on stage, discussing Apple’s placement at the intersection of liberal arts and technology. Displays a number of logos of past Apple educational programs. “We hope that educators are going to look back on today’s announcements as fondly as” past initiatives.
10:58 – And the event ends. Be sure to continue checking iLounge throughout the next few days for our impressions and thoughts on Apple’s latest announcements!