Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
Apple and education have always gone hand in hand, but Cupertino has taken a bold leap with iBooks 2, a full version update offering zero new features for those of us who graduated from school long ago. But for iPad-toting students, the company’s new digital textbook initiative is a revelation.
iBooks 2 is the same as it ever was, adding only the ability to read interactive, multitouch textbooks on the iPad, purchased via iBookstore on your tablet or through iTunes on the desktop; iPhone and iPod touch users are sadly left out on this fresh feature. But despite Apple’s hyperbolic marketing, iBooks 2 arrives with a mere nine textbooks from two of the three top publishers.
The real revolution is the price: $14.99 compared to $75 for a print textbook. Available titles cover high school basics (algebra, biology, chemistry, and physics), but Apple nabbed one exclusive: E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth, a work in progress whose first two chapters are free, while future entries can be purchased when released. You’ll need to clear space on a 16GB iPad, though, since textbooks consume nearly 1GB or more.
Despite an otherwise modest update, textbooks are a joy to use. Almost everything on the page is interactive, including graphics, diagrams, photos, and videos. Objects can be enlarged or rotated with a pinch of your fingers, and you can even highlight text just by swiping with any digit. A Study Cards section consolidates notes, highlights, and glossary items in one place, and everything was fast and fluid on my iPad 2.
The bottom line. Non-scholars may have no urgent reason to install iBooks 2 other than maintaining version parity, but the update is worthwhile as a glimpse into the future of education. Kids, I'm jealous: If my generation had such cool textbooks, I might have paid more attention in school.
iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch running iOS 4.2 or later
Digital textbooks priced at $14.99 or less. No more heavy backpacks full of hardcover textbooks. Nearly every page offers some form of interactivity, which makes learning more fun.
Textbooks are large downloads weighing in at 1GB or more. Update adds nothing new for iPhone/iPod touch users or non-student iPad owners. Limited textbook selection at launch.