Apple makes a push for education

by Jenna Wilcox

Apple unveiled three new apps Thursday that got the education community buzzing.

According to Apple, iBooks 2, iBooks Author and an upgraded iTunes U are designed to make the classroom a more interactive, versatile and engaging place.

“Education is deep in Apple’s DNA, and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet, Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said in a company release.

The new apps are part of the company’s push to put its tablets in classrooms across the country with the goal of a repeat performance of the success it had with Mac computers.

For iBooks 2, Apple partnered with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson, three of the largest textbook publishers in the country, to sell educational titles in the iBookstore for $14.99 or less.

The company has also released iBookstore for authors who want to publish and sell their own textbooks. The iBooks Author app lets authors drag-and-drop presentations, videos, 3D models and more into books meant for the iPad.

iTunes U is designed for students and educators. The app allows teachers to post course material, to stream and post video and to give students access to class materials such as readings, quizzes and assignments. The technology is already being used at Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford and UC Berkely.