You may have heard bout Apple’s education event in New York tomorrow, On the other hand you might not care.
It would appear the event is going to focus on Apple’s education and publishing efforts.
Two things that are important: It’s going to be held in New York rather than in the Silicon Valley. Possibly because New York is more centrally located for textbook and publishing.
Secondly: Steve Job’s recent biography stated the he was interested in revolutionising the textbook industry (chapter 38, p. 509 in the print edition):
“In fact Jobs had his sights set on textbooks as the next business he wanted to transform. He believed it was an $8 billion a year industry ripe for digital destruction. He was also struck by the fact that many schools, for security reasons, don’t have lockers, so kids have to lug a heavy backpack around. “The iPad would solve that,” he said…”
What can we expect?
Well first things first, we can expect to hear about how Apple are doing with the iBookstore and more importantly iTunes U. iTunes U is Apple’s foray into the education space; it was created to manage, distribute, and control access to educational audio and video content and PDF files for students within a college or university as well as the broader Internet.
Textbooks are something Steve Jobs expressed an interest in revolutionising in his recent autobiography. Envisioning students being able to purchase whatever textbook they needed through the iBookstore and having the ability to annotate on an iPad.
There have been rumours of a new publishing tool that will enable anyone to publish a book, textbook or paper through Apple. This could revolutionise the publishing industry (or create a lot of junk). I think we’re more likely to see Apple showcasing the EPUB 3 format that allows a wider variety of multimedia and interaction features. I think we should expect to see a working demo of a highly interactive and fully polished ‘iTextbook’ tomorrow.
Something that I am hoping we get at least a hint towards, is a new version of iWork. It’s been over 3 years since the last big release of iWork, although still my preferred choice over Office for Mac, but it is beginning to feel dated. Pages is already capable of exporting as an EPub file, but adding the ability to save as an EPub3 file will make interactive publishing a cinch to do.
iTunes U has been a quiet success for Apple. Universities can upload course lectures, language lessons and lab demonstrations for free, and anyone can access them… for free. Imagine packing together a course load of lectures, videos, and demonstrations into one easy to download textbook and being able to take them anywhere on an iPad.
It sure beats lugging around 5 different textbooks, plus your own notes.
One thing I will be curious to see is how global this will be, education is different in every country, unlike the music industry. But What do I know? It’s all speculation and rumours until tomorrow.
What do you think we’ll see at Apple’s Education Event tomorrow?