iBooks 2: The new and improved iBook e-reader app for Apple products is going to outperform dedicated e-readers (like Kindle) in a number of ways. First, the iBookstore, where iBooks are purchased, will include textbooks. Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are all electronically publishing their textbooks, which account for the vast majority of texts in the country. In addition, iBooks and iTextbooks will now come with multimedia and interactive functionality, greatly expanding student engagement with text and providing supplemental material with the swipe of a finger.The user interface will be as fluid as the original iBook, with some added abilities associated with searching, indexing, and annotating.
iBook Author: A new app available for Macs (Sorry, not ported to Windows) allows individuals to write their own books and create interactive content for them. Like the iWorks suite, the iBook Author is a production program that allows the author to determine their own graphics, layout, and designs, author the book and create additional slideshows, video, and other presentations to supplement the text. Think of it like a juiced-up Pages/Keynote hybrid. Better yet, when the author has completed their work, they have the options of previewing and publishing the work to iBookstore. It will be interesting to see how Apple, which is known for thoroughly vetting the content that appears in its virtual marketplaces, will police iBookstore, if at all.
iTunes U: Apple’s answer to notorious Blackboard learning management system, it has been largely used as a free resource of high-ed geared podcasts. However, the new and improved (and still free) iTunes U will boast a much broader and more inclusive ability to manage and disseminate content. iTunes U is still an app, not available on Windows, which limits the ability of schools that are not actively integrating Apple hardware.