By BRIAN X. CHEN and NICK WINGFIELD| January 19, 2012, 10:17 am
Apple wants students to bid farewell to the days of lugging around backpacks of heavy textbooks, and to welcome the iPad tablet as their new all-in-one reading device.
On Thursday the company released iBooks 2, a free app that will support digital textbooks that can display interactive diagrams, audio and video. At a news conference, the company demonstrated a biology textbook featuring 3-D models, searchable text, photo galleries and flash cards for studying. Apple said high school textbooks from its initial publishing partners, including Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, would cost $15 or less.
“Education is deep in our DNA and it has been from the very beginning,” said Philip W. Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, at the event at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Apple also announced a free tool called iBooks Author, a piece of Macintosh software that allows people to make these interactive textbooks. The tool includes templates designed by Apple, which publishers and authors can customize to suit their content. It requires no programming knowledge and will be available Thursday.