Apple Really Pushing iPads As The Future Of Textbooks

Textbooks suck. They’re pricey, heavy, often outdated and they don’t play videos or music. The folks at Apple have been pushing possible educational aspects of the iPad since its release, but today the company went hogwild on the topic, introducing both a new version of its iBooks e-reader app and an app to help anyone create truly interactive books on the fly.

iBooks 2 basically allows publishers to include all the stuff in books — though today’s big announcement was targeted specifically at textbooks — that you can do in other iPad apps. So that picture of an ant in your textbook can now be a video. Charts, graphs and other things of that sort can be animated and interactive. You can zoom in and out, even talk to your textbook if you want.

Instead of having a quiz that requires students to write on a separate piece of paper. Boom-bam-bim… you do it right there on the iPad. We don’t know if the app would prevent students from using the iPad’s web browser to search for answers, but that’s not our problem.

Users can take notes and highlight text straight into the textbook. This information can then be quickly converted into study cards for when it’s time to bone-up for an exam.

Apple says it’s working with educational publishing biggies like McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and others responsible for those massive texts you barely read back in the day.

In addition to the new-fangled reading experience, Apple showed off something called iBooks Author, which isn’t exactly an accurate title, as it’s more of a publishing platform than a place in which to write. Regardless, the app essentially lets users create their own textbooks directly on the iPad, importing files form any of the iWorks word processing or graphics programs, or even outside applications like Microsoft Word. iBooks Author is drag-and-drop, WYSIWYG app, as it doesn’t need to worry itself with the print resolution or font file issues one encounters in print-centric book design software like InDesign or Quark.

But while this software might be free and easy to use, what still remains is the cost of actually getting iPads and other tablets into the hands of students. Publishers may play along for now, but until schools and local governments begin subsidizing iPads, it will likely be a while until a students’ entire textbook library is on their wireless device.

To quote my pal and rabid (well, not literally rabid) Apple enthusiast Calvin, “Students all over the world can no longer use ‘My dog ate my homework!’ as excuse. But they can try ‘My dog ate my charger!’ instead.”

Apple Unveils iBooks 2, iBooks Author, Digital Textbooks [AllThingsD]

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  1. Hi_Hello says:

    I rather use a kindle for textbook… if the price is the same or close to the same as a textbook, screw that.

    • Cosmo_Kramer says:

      Sure, Kindle works if you want digital textbooks to have the same limitations as printed textbooks. Tablets let you do something better than what you can do with paper.

      • little stripes says:

        Yeah, but e-ink is far, far better for your eyes than LCD screens. I really, really hate looking at an iPad for any real length of time. e-ink all the way, for me, if I’m going to do any serious reading, which studying would require.

        • Cosmo_Kramer says:

          I really hate looking at textbooks for any real length of time, so LCD is perfect!

          That’s a good point though. As a computer science major (and a remarkably intelligent person), I rarely read my textbooks. I only used them as a reference.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        You see textbook as a limitation.. I see it as a simple design. It’s a book, that contain information in mainly text form. I don’t care much for the fancy picture or video. Making them lighter, and cheaper would be awesome. Color e-ink would be great.

        As a CS person years ago, textbook was mainly for my math homework. I don’t need any fancy display for math…

        For me, in CS term, what apple is doing is taking a hello world program and asking the user to select a language, it would display hello world in that language, speak the words and having the letter navigate around a picture of a globe that can be zoom in to different regions showing hello world in different language based on that region.

      • IgnoramusEtIgnorabimus says:

        my year old nook color works perfectly with all textbooks

  2. Don't Bother says:

    Use my iPad to read… play Bejeweled for two hours.

  3. Lauren-XX says:

    … but you can’t resell a digital copy of a textbook at the end of the semester. I seriously doubt digital copies will be that much cheaper than the actual books, publishers aren’t stupid.

    • NaOH says:

      “We wanted to get started with partners early, so we’re starting with high school textbooks priced at $14.99 or less.”

      • George4478 says:

        Since the textbooks in high school are free for a student, the iPad digital books are WAAAAY more expensive than physical copies.

        Let me know when they sell $100 college textbooks for $14.99 digital.

        • MaryK says:

          Some of my high school textbooks I would have willingly paid $14.99 for to avoid having to haul the huge things home every night. My back would be in a lot better shape right now if I hadn’t had such big books to lug around.

        • ungeheier says:

          LOL.

          They aren’t free to the school/school districts.

    • mbz32190 says:

      They aren’t from what I have seen in my last few semesters of school. Example: I can buy the physical book for 150, and hopefully sell it afterward. The digital copy is priced at maybe $75…but no resale value and had a license that expires, so it isn’t even useful for future reference.

    • Rebecca K-S says:

      For the few I’ve bought, they were cheaper than used (from a college-endorsed bookstore), but not by much.

    • drewsumer says:

      Heh, you can barely resell them now. Publishers have discovered the “custom textbook” which is basically a bunch of chapters from other texts picked out by the professor and then cheaply bound. Bookstores won’t buy them back because there’s too much risk the books will not be used again (that and they tend to fall apart after heavy use).

      • Heresy Of Truth says:

        And don’t forget the great “textbook bundle” that comes with a code for the publishers own website. Break the plastic on your $200 bundle, and no returns. Barely any resell’s either.

    • sagodjur says:

      We just need every subject matter expert in the teaching field to contribute open source material to the web so that any instructor can assemble an open source text customized for their students free of charge.

  4. Cat says:

    Apple has been inserting its products into public schools for years in the hope that it will become the standard.

    IMHO, it’s just too pricey to adopt iPads as a textbook replacement in public schools. But, you know, schools spend our money like its water, so it could happen.

    Now, using a cheaper kindle or android tablet for college textbooks…

    • Platypi {Redacted} says:

      Seriously. Amazon should be pushing the Kindles for this. Something that could replace textbooks, calculators, internet reference devices, for $200 (not $500-$600). They just have to fix the parental controls, and figure out how to manage them. Probably on their radar, I don’t think anyone would call Amazon shortsighted.

      • Don't Bother says:

        The big problem I see is if you give a bunch of iPads or Kindles, who knows what sort of shape those will be in by the end of the year or even semester. Besides, let’s just say a student has all of his text books with his notes on his tablet. That tablet malfunctions, gets lost, goes through the wash, etc etc. All of those I can see happening easily. Then you have some students with half of the classwork gone in an instant.

        And before you say that this could happen with textbooks and folders, let me remind you that although a student could lose five textbooks and folders, it’s unlike that something would wipe out the contents of his locker or backpack before the contents of his iPad.

        • Costner says:

          Amazon and Apple can both easily rememdy this issue by having automatic updates to the cloud. That way if the iPad / Kindle is destroyed/lost/broken/sold/left at home – the student could easily access all of their content from another backup device.

          In theory, this would be better than traditional textbooks, notes, pen, and paper since it has automatic redundancy.

          • adamstew says:

            Apple has already done this. All of your iTunes purchases, including anything from the iBook store and App Store, are all in iCloud… you can redownload anything you’ve purchased directly from iTunes completely free of charge on any device you log in to.

            Anything you haven’t purchased from iTunes, you can put in to the iCloud for a $25 yearly fee.

  5. jeni1122 says:

    My company is not authorized to sell iPads yet, but we sell iPad charging carts and we have sold a ton of them, all to schools and government.

    Not just high schools, but middle and primary schools as well, mostly to use for the yearly standardized test and in class assignments.

    The school will lend out an iPad to each student that needs one to use at school and some of the schools loan out the unit to the student with a consent form for the whole semester or school year.

    A lot of schools are getting the money to do this with private grants, PTO money, and government funds that would have otherwise been spent on standard desktops/laptops.

    This is going to happen. It already is happening, at least here in Washington State and Oregon and some parts of California.

    Over time as the case studies come out and show positive results, this trend will spread to other parts of the country. The cost savings alone in textbooks should help to cover the cost of the iPad and the charging carts.

    • pinkbunnyslippers says:

      I can attest to that as well. We sell into the Federal space and Apple is really making the move – especially in agencies with field agents (Border Patrol, etc.).

      Not to sound like the guy on the Hanes commercial who is dipping his son feet-first into a plaster concoction to find a better sock solution…but…this is the future.

    • SamEBates says:

      I work for a small school district and we have been purchasing carts of iPads as opposed to new computers, because it’s cheaper and it gets more kids on the internet/working on assignments than a few computer labs would. Apparently they are also really good for special education classes.

      However, as the one who has to maintain 400 iPads, my personal opinion of the iPad is less than a glowing review.

      • Cosmo_Kramer says:

        The software definitely isn’t designed for the enterprise, or even to be used by more than one person (iPad, like a phone, is intended to be a personal device, not a shared device).

        And the hardware wasn’t really designed with children in mind. Children are dirty and clumsy. I used to help maintain a computer lab at an elementary school, and the children got the mice and keyboards so dirty it was disgusting.

        • SamEBates says:

          I know! I wash my hands a LOT every day, after I’ve been touching the lab stuff. It’s disgusting. Surprisingly, we have had very few problems with the iPads.

      • jeni1122 says:

        Agreed on the not glowing review part, but their are really any other tablet options out there that have the content and support that the iPad has.

  6. Rebecca K-S says:

    I really like eBooks for a lot of things, but in my opinion, they fall short for anything that involves more than just reading. I might use one for a literature course, but I used one (on a computer) for an accounting class where I had to flip back and forth between the questions in the back of the chapter and the relevant sections in the chapter, while I was also typing up the assignment on the same computer. What a fucking mess. Obviously it would be a bit better if the book was on a separate device, but I wonder if the flipping back and forth thing has been improved. It was not at all elegant when I was trying to do it.

    On the other hand, one bonus I’ve noticed is that if I can read an ebook during my sleepytime (my body always wishes to nap in the afternoon) without nodding off in a way I can’t do with a paper book. So that’s nice.

    • Jack says:

      In grade 12, our teacher gave us the link to the PDF version of our math textbook. I had to flip to the back to check the answers too. I had it on my Kindle, so I just had to bookmark the page, find the answers bookmark, and flip to it. Very easy, just like I’d do in a real book. To get back I just had to hit the ‘back’ button since it remembers where you were.

  7. vliam says:

    I can see the appeal for any digital copies of a text that you normally read fairly linearly. It just doesn’t work as well for non-linear reading/referencing.

    It’s a bit ironic that the best medium for Computer Science texts will continue to be dead trees.

  8. Daggertrout says:

    I think an iPad would have been cheaper than any of my college textbooks. I probably could have sold it for a lot more afterwards, too.

    • teke367 says:

      I think the plans right now are for high school and earlier only, when books get reused more and more. The idea is that they can sell a $75 book for $15, since they’ll sell it 5 times as much.

      If college texts are similarly priced, than this could work, but since many college books get “re-edited” so often, they aren’t reused as much, so the “volume” isn’t there as much for the lower price. If a $75 book is $50 for the ebook, I’m not sure if that is enough of a discount to justify a $500 or more iPad for many people.

      But $15 for a college book, definitely, $400 isn’t uncommon for a semester’s work of books, make that $600 for the first semester, and $75 each follow semester for the iPad version, then you make your money back within the first semester

  9. Derigiberble says:

    I’m not really sold on the idea that we need interactive textbooks, I’ve never had a textbook that wasn’t very sufficiently searchable using the contents and index, and I don’t see how you can keep a straight face and make the argument that an iPad is more durable than a textbook.

    Apple may want the iPad to be the standard with all their little monopolistic heart, but I just don’t see it happening anywhere but in random charter or magnet schools who want to show everyone how hip they are with the new technology.

  10. scoutermac says:

    The problem I see here is that students will either damage the iPad or lose them. Also once they are out of warranty what happens when it fails? Not to mention that students will be playing games on them rather than reading the text books they are assigned to read.

    • Cat says:

      Or, students will steal them.

      • scoutermac says:

        Exactly

        • Don't Bother says:

          I wish I had read your comment before posting mine own. I agree 100%. As a teacher, I can see this becoming an absolute nightmare for teachers and students.

          I can’t even imagine coming into my classroom and having a student tell me “Uh, so I accidentally left my iPad in my bag, and then I ran over it with the car, so all my stuff is gone.”

          • Costner says:

            Many schools have already done similar things with laptops. In fact in my state, there are several schools that issue laptops to every student. I know of Universities that used to issue Palm Pilots to every student, and now they have been replaced by Ipod touches (they use apps in class, and the lectures are available via podcasts).

            The technology hurdle has already been crossed – schools/universities and students already know the potential issues and are able to address them. Yes some students will lose their equipment, but students lose books too. Theft is more of an issue with tech, but each student is either responsible for their own, or they are insured. Either way they can deal with a loss or on failed equipment.

            Also keep in mind the cloud solves the data issues. Anything put on a device can be synced to a cloud so if that device is lost or stolen, a replacement device can be configured and the data can be restored. You can’t recover data from a notebook that falls out on the subway or get a book that was left in the trunk of your ex-girlfriend’s car.

            I think technology can solve a lot of problems, and the issues created by the tech itself can be handled without much serious concern. We all already have laptops and cell phones and tablets… so it isn’t like kids will just run around dropping them or treating them like they are stone.

            • Don't Bother says:

              I totally forgot about cloud computing. That does solve the problem of losing data.

              But when I student taught at a school that had laptops for students, the laptops were never a sure thing. Half of the time four to five laptops out of the set wouldn’t work and then the lesson plan for that day had to be changed completely. Trust me, schools in general haven’t figured it out. Most likely the school will only have one or two IT guys that are spread thin and are unable to help all the teachers out on a daily basis.

            • Don't Bother says:

              Also–

              Students treat their stuff like crap regardless of how used to they are to technology. I’ve seen iPhones with cracked screens, busted computer equipment in the labs, and students who kick their backpacks (the same ones with mp3 players and phones) all the way to their desks.

              Not all students are like this. But many are irresponsible.

          • pinkbunnyslippers says:

            Cloud computing, liability waivers and AppleCare Protection Plans cover all of these problems.

    • majortom1981 says:

      schools can lock down ipads.

  11. crispyduck13 says:

    As someone who spent $500 or more every semester for 5 goddam years I wish this had been an option for me. On top of spending hours online trying to source used options of the most recent editions I had to then sell them on my own after the class was done because the bookstore would give you $20 for a $130 book.

    If they can get this together and sell digital copies of books for under $50 it will be a game changer. The real question is could someone then sell the digital copy they bought to someone else?

    • SarcasticDwarf says:

      No, they will not be able to sell their digital copy. Don’t forget that you will pay at least half the amount for the electronic book as for the print book (and they are often the same price). So you really will not be saving any money using this.

  12. Buckus says:

    Hmmm…if publishers would cut the price of their books by 50%, there would be more than enough money left over to buy iPads for students. I’m sure that printing and shipping a 500-page book has significant production costs, so zapping the book to an iPad should be significantly cheaper.

    • Costner says:

      There is no way publishers are going to cut prices by 50%. 20% to 30% would be the most, and even that is doubtful.

      Keep in mind to print a traditional hardcover book it costs less than $1. A textbook is larger and often includes color as well as more pages, but I doubt the cost is over $5 for each printed copy. When transporting in bulk, there isn’t more than $2 shipping costs factored into each copy. All of the expense stems from the content, and that won’t change merely because it is digital.

      Plus, if publishers start adding content like videos or schematics and functional diagrams to e-textbooks, the content will be more costly to produce.

      I expect prices to remain within 10% of hardcover editions to be honest. The advantages come from being able to carry a stack of books on one single iPad, from being able to quickly capture data from those books, from being able to cross-reference with lookup tools only available on such a device, and from saving your back from carrying 90lbs of books everywhere you go. Price is not likely to be a significant advantage.

  13. Rachacha says:

    For this to work in grades K-12, they have to bring the cost of the e-textbooks down. Assuming a school district can purchase textbooks for $100 each, and you need a math book, history/social studies book, and a book for language arts and science. Schools are spending about $400 in books for each student, and they will use the books for 4-5 years before the books are out of date, or are physically in bad shape, meaning the cost is about $100 per student per year to supply them with text books. If they can get the costs of the electronic textbooks to a reasonable price, it might make economic sense when you consider borrowing e-books from the library, and using your iPad as a replacement for a computer in a computer lab. Apple can subsidize the cost as getting into schools is developing a captive audience, and they will go to their parents and say they want an iPad at home just as I went home and told my parents I wanted an Apple IIe and a Mac as my home computer after using them in school.

  14. AD8BC says:

    I don’t like E-books for one reason, the same reason I don’t like using AutoCAD (or even Acrobat) to look at a 70 page drawing set.

    I like to be able to flip through it looking for something.

    I suppose a text search would be just as good, but I’m old school, I guess.

    To me a book is a book, something tangible, something you read and keep on a shelf so it can be referenced later. Sure, I could store it on a computer, but the magic is gone at that point, it’s a file, not a book.

    • Don't Bother says:

      Agreed.

      The only reason I would get a Kindle is for popular/fad books. I don’t want a copy of “Water for Elephants” on my bookshelf, and I don’t see myself making comments in the margins. But if it was cheap and I had a Kindle, hey, I’ll check it out.

      Then again, I don’t really want to read any fad books right now, so no Kindle for me.

  15. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Just think about how much fun it would be to hack into the textbook codes and change things – the possibilities are endless :)

  16. vliam says:

    For anyone that believes this is going to be financially beneficial to them in any way.

    Do you really believe that publishers will take the high road and reduce prices due to reduced expenses in publishing and distribution?

    Even mass market publishers have been resistant to price reductions. Textbook publishers sure as hell won’t initiate a price restructuring. They have no motivation to alter the current market. A random search on Amazon bears this out.

    Human Anatomy & Physiology with MasteringA&P‚Ñ¢ (8th Edition) [Hardcover]
    Published July 2, 2010
    Hardcover (new) $176.85
    Kindle Edition $193.66

    And, FWIW, the 9th edition was just published on January 2, 2012. *shocking*
    I’m sure there’s been massive discoveries in the last 18 months that required a complete rewrite of the text.

    If textbook publishers really cared about you and your education, they would offer reduced cost updates to previous editions.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Even if they did reduce the prices you would have to buy a new device every 2-3 years when the old one becomes obsolete and is unable to get the newest textbooks due to the software or hardware being out of date. Apple stops supporting devices after 2-3 years and this is a well known fact, the devices cannot receive the latest software due to aging hardware, so anyone buying apple mostly knows what they are getting into unless they buy it blindly.

      So even if manufacturers reduced pricing, you would likely have to buy a new reader every 2-3 years, if not more often, they will get you one way or another. Its also not impossible to envision textbook manufacturers getting a cut from the sale of these devices.

      Its probably still better to have a book, at least a book you can resell when you are done with it, even if its worth a pittance there are still students who will pay for last year’s textbook and do with that to avoid spending $300 just to have the newest edition, so you would get something back from it.

      If you sunk money into obsolete devices that would be rendered useless in 2-3 years assuming that is the case you could not get back any money from the sale of these devices because no one would want them, thus they would be worth nothing.

  17. u1itn0w2day says:

    Who’s future? The for profit tech companies or young students who want gimmicks and entertainment while learning.

  18. Geekybiker says:

    One of the fun things is electronic texts can provide lots of metrics to teach. They can tell for example if you read your assignment. They can tell what pages people spent a lot of time reading. (maybe something to cover in more detail in class.) They can pinpoint material that students have issues with. I think the conversion over to electronic texts is a great idea. We’re just really early for adoption.

  19. j2.718ff says:

    And as an added bonus, you can’t buy a used electronic book! That helps the starving publishers fight against the oppressive used book racket.

    Fortunately for the consumer, they’ll only ever need to buy a single ipad, which will never be out-of-date, and will always be compatible with the latest textbooks, right?

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Outdated Ipad or worn out troubled Ipad. You can repair a book with about 25 cents in duct tape you can repair an Ipad for ?

  20. Cat says:

    “My dog ate my iPad”

    I hear this in Bart Simpson’s voice.

  21. Outrun1986 says:

    The only problem with this is that the iPad becomes obsolete very quickly, so every 2-3 years the schools will have to purchase new iPads because the old ones won’t be able to update apps anymore and they won’t be able to receive the newest iOS software (due to aging hardware) which will be required for app updates. I am sure textbooks won’t be able to update either, which they would need to update in order to stay current.

    The Kindle would really be ideal for this as you can’t do anything on it except for read books so there is no goofing off, if you have the wifi model. I don’t know of any school that has public wifi that kids can access. The kindle also doesn’t update as fast as the iPad as far as software goes. It also doesn’t have apps though which are a big part of education. The first generation kindle still works as well as the current ones as far as I know.

    Other than that I am all for it, the education system in this country is sorely lacking in technology compared to what students in other countries have access to. This puts our kids at a disadvantage compared with other children of the world. Instead of embracing tech as a way to learn schools just seem to be interested in banning everything and anything that is electronic outright. Teachers see anything electronic as the bane of existence and I think that most teachers would be happy if they never saw another electronic device in their entire life.

    My cousin even got her kindle taken away at school, what kind of school takes away a kindle, if you take away that you are taking away books from a teenager that loves to read (a teen that loves to read is a rare thing these days). If the teen is using a kindle when they are not supposed to be then it means the teen is not being challenged or engaged enough in school and something needs to be done about that.

    In Japan they have Nintendo DS systems for classroom use, children use them to practice language skills and learn english and Japanese. Companies create cartridges specifically for learning and distribute them to the schools. Most Japanese kids have a Nintendo DS so this works well, but if someone doesn’t have a DS they have systems in the school for those children to use. The children are also more willing to learn using the device thus the work gets done instead of children moaning and groaning about homework and they learn more than by just practicing language with paper and pencil.

    • vliam says:

      My cousin even got her kindle taken away at school, what kind of school takes away a kindle, if you take away that you are taking away books from a teenager that loves to read (a teen that loves to read is a rare thing these days). If the teen is using a kindle when they are not supposed to be then it means the teen is not being challenged or engaged enough in school and something needs to be done about that.

      As someone that, quite literally, slept through the last seven years of public schooling, I understand completely. It’s pathetic that the educational system is structured to serve the needs of the lowest common denominator of students. If you don’t fit in the narrow scope of their target audience, you’re basically left to your own devices.

      She reads. I slept. Her outlet is far more productive. Clearly, she should be punished.

      Idiots.

      • LadyTL says:

        When I was in public school I got in trouble on a weekly basis for reading books in class (from 3rd to 8th grade). I guess they felt someone reading non-school assigned books was more of a danger than the kids throwing things or making real trouble.

        • Cor Aquilonis says:

          I was punished for drawing. Guess who didn’t grow up to become an artist?

          PS – Just bought awesome artist grade colored pencils, now I’m going to make some art and see if I can sell it. Take that, grade school!

    • SamEBates says:

      We have public wifi for students. They find out the password and overload our private wireless anyway, so why not?

    • spittingangels says:

      How do you even determine that an iPad becomes obsolete in 2-3 years, considering that the original iPad just came out less than 2 years ago?

      You keep throwing that number out and in another post even state:
      “Apple stops supporting devices after 2-3 years and this is a well known fact”

      It’s not a fact.

      Apple only offers standard warranties for 3 years. Warranty extensions are available for products when Apple determines product flaws result in higher than expected failure rates. I just had my 4 year old MacBook Pro repaired by Apple for free because of an issue with the Nvidia videocard because of the warranty extension for that issue.

      And, unless their policy has changed recently, Apple still provides repair and parts for their products for a minimum of 5 years. Beyond 5 years is still possible but determined by parts availability.

      So you can count on Apple to support their products for a minimum of at least 5 years, not the 2-3 you claim as fact.

      As to software support, just because a device can’t run the latest software does not mean that it is obsolete. It’s still a fully functional device that doesn’t have some of the perks of the latest devices. Usually you expect the same lifespan out of the software. My 4 year old MBP can run Lion just fine and that’s typical of most Apple Computers. That only time I would say Apple hardware was prematurely deprecated was with the Intel Transition. Apple switched to Intel in 2005 and PowerPC was still supported up through Leopard. Only when Snow Leopard was released in 2009 did Apple stop supporting PowerPC with new OS releases and so that 4 year span was driven by a fundamental architecture change. Still, it didn’t mean those PowerPC systems were suddenly made obsolete, they continued to work fine with Leopard or earlier and Apple still continued to release security and bugfixes for Leopard for some time after that.

      iOS devices are different and arguably, the iPhone 3G was hobbled by iOS 4 and could be considered obsolete by that upgrade but only under a loose interpretation of the term and that was the exception to the rule. It still worked, just painfully slow and the device continued to work fine with iOS3 and earlier. Other iOS upgrades went a lot smoother. For this specific use of the devices – textbooks – I expect these devices will perform admirably for at least 4-5 years if not more. They may not run the latest games or support the latest GPS features or Bluetooth accessories but that has nothing to do with what schools would be using them for anyway. As for all those apps that don’t run on older versions of iOS, that’s strictly up the the developer anyway. I highly doubt that iBooks will be deprecated as quickly as some 3rd party apps do.

      Oh, and schools usually have special contracts with Apple for support that falls outside of general consumer support anyway.

      For comparison’s sake, let compare the track record of Android updates. Just how many recently released Android devices currently support or will be definitely supporting ICS? Let’s make it interesting and just focus on the newest devices that came out in the past year, including all those fancy Android tablets. Anyone?

      • Outrun1986 says:

        I am mainly referring to the fact that the iPod touch 2nd gen can’t get iOS 5 and is therefore locked out of apps that require iOS 5. This has gotten many people to buy a new device to replace one that was otherwise perfectly functional.

        The original iPhone, 3G and 3GS can’t get iOS 5 from what I understand.

        Though you can argue that these devices like the iPod touch 2nd gen were put out before the app store got massive so they aren’t really built for apps. Perhaps Apple will support devices like the iPod touch 4th gen which was the first touch really built for apps and the iPad for a bit longer than 2-3 years.

      • vliam says:

        Just how many recently released Android devices currently support or will be definitely supporting ICS? Let’s make it interesting and just focus on the newest devices that came out in the past year, including all those fancy Android tablets. Anyone?

        For this specific use of the devices – textbooks – I expect these devices will perform admirably for at least 4-5 years if not more. They may not run the latest games or support the latest GPS features or Bluetooth accessories but that has nothing to do with what schools would be using them for anyway.

        /that

  22. ripoffnation says:

    Students dont learn when there are distractions around, it is just human
    nature. If grown-up mature adults are distracted with facebook at their workplace
    then it is only natural that most students get distracted. Asking students to
    learn when there is an internet connection tempting you with facebook and
    porn and sports gambling and fantasy football and numerous worthless games
    is a bad idea. If a parent want his/her kids to learn, then blocking out the
    biggest drug, the internet, during that learning period will prove wonders in
    a child’s education.

    The ipad books thingy with all its features is I’m sure a technological marvel
    with all its bells and whistles. It also comes with an expensive broadband bill, and
    delays because the software has to “update” itself every three days (would you
    buy a car that needs to “update” itself every week?), ads poppping up every
    30 seconds or pay to disable them, yet another entity tracking your every move.
    connection,

    The biggest cost is your child’s grades, damaged by those drugs called social
    networking, porn, sports, fantasy sports, online gaming. You call them fancy names
    like “social media”, but they are nothing but pure forms of entertainment and a
    handful of vulture capitalists from the Ivies had made a sucker of a billion people.
    I have nothing against these forms of entertainment, millions make a living out
    of these things, but education and internet dont mix. Pull the plug on the internet
    during the study hour and see America’s grades go up.

    • Kuri says:

      So, see grades go up, after yanking away the biggest resource of information…..

    • Outrun1986 says:

      No preschool through high school I have been to here has open public wifi (except for colleges and by then you should be old enough to know better), so it would be impossible for a student to access the internet on the iPad. It is very easy to permanently lock out wifi on the device as well. I seriously doubt that a school system would purchase data plans for iPads. So the child accessing other things during learning time is not an issue here. In fact its much easier to lock out things on an iPad than it is on a desktop computer, where kids would have access to the internet while learning. Most classrooms have computers in them that are hooked up to the internet these days. Kids know how to circumvent computer protections to get online while they should be learning but it would be much more difficult on an iPad that is completely cut off from the internet with still functioning educational apps.

      I assume the devleopers of iPad apps used solely for education would not be putting ads in their apps unlike the scammy play for free games that litter the iOS app store. The ads are a developers choice, they can choose to not have ads.

      Its possible to completely lock down the iPad or iPod touch, you can even lock it so that the students can’t install any of their own stuff and so that they don’t have access to the app store at all. This way it would be able to be used for education without distractions.

      The updates are a problem though, I do agree with that. But again that is the app developer’s choice. The only thing is these educational apps would have to go through extensive testing so they work properly and perhaps only be updated once before the school year starts and maybe once during the year over break.

    • GoldVRod says:

      “The ipad books thingy with all its features is I’m sure a technological marvel
      with all its bells and whistles. It also comes with an expensive broadband bill, and
      delays because the software has to “update” itself every three days (would you
      buy a car that needs to “update” itself every week?), ads poppping up every
      30 seconds or pay to disable them, yet another entity tracking your every move.
      connection, “

      This is incorrect on so many levels. Look, if you’re going to put an argument forth that distractions can hinder learning then I’m ready to listen and may even agree, but making shit up to bolster your position does nothing for your cause. Plus it shows a great deal of ignorance in the very device that you’re denigrating which, given that you’re discussing education, is irony of the highest order.

      Before you denounce something please take a small amount of time to learn about it instead of making assumptions. The knowledge you gain may not change your position on the issue in question but it would stop you looking like… well, a fool.

      • ripoffnation says:

        The point of my post is that learning cannot be achieved with distractions, even with the best controls/filters in place. I wouldnt use this if it were offered for free because of the lost productivity.

        Ipads or any other device and many popular apps these days are merely ad-delivery mechanisms and you are paying for the delivery, month after month, through your broadband/wireless bill. With social media conditioning the next generation of consumers by bombarding our 14 year old kids with ads, no wonder vulture capitalists fall head-over-heels to invest in social media deals. Broadband/wireless/social media companies lose too much revenue if
        they provided foolproof mechanisms for parents to control access. Try getting facebook to limit access to under-18s, you’ll see powerful execs, investors, politicians, paid Ivy league professors beat you up in a hurry.

        Break down your wireless/broadband bill into real content that you wanted vs. ads/updates that got foisted on you. Stare at those big screen tvs or shiny new monitor or fancy smartphone, that you just bought and see how much of real-estate is covered in ads. If you
        dont believe you are paying for ad-delivery, then either you are making a living perpetrating
        this scheme or need to understand that story of PT Barnum and suckers.

        The damage and the costs simply outweigh the marginal benefits. No thanks, I’ll buy a used textbook and see my learning soar.

        • GoldVRod says:

          I see you haven’t even bothered to learn what was incorrect within your original post and in fact continue to spout radically incorrect information about the iPad and its operation. (Hint – broadband bills).

          Too hard? Too many distractions around you? I’m not seeing ANY ‘soaring’ learning here.

          Laughable. Please go away Luddite.

    • SamEBates says:

      What schools do you know of without filtered internet?

  23. OmicroN says:

    “In addition to the new-fangled reading experience, Apple showed off something called iBooks Author, which isn’t exactly an accurate title, as it’s more of a publishing platform than a place in which to write. Regardless, the app essentially lets users create their own textbooks directly on the iPad,”

    CORRECTION: “iBooks Author” is a Mac app, available only on the Mac App Store, and is not an iPad app.

  24. Velifer says:

    First iPad textbook offering: Programming ActionScript.

  25. SamEBates says:

    The district I work for has purchased iPads as opposed to new computers because they are cheaper and easier for us to maintain. It allows more students to be on the internet/working on assignments than a few computer labs.

    We have not had any issues with students getting distracted, because it’s harder to hide what you are doing on it, and we have filtered internet.

    So far, it has worked out very well for us.

  26. coffee100 says:

    Unless it says “rich” (comma) “robust” somewhere in the features list it will fail.

    The implication being that if it isn’t “rich” and “robust” then it won’t be entertaining and therefore won’t succeed in educating students.

    Students must be entertained. Constantly.

  27. Cor Aquilonis says:

    This is relevant to my interests as I, just this morning, purchased my grad textbook through Amazon and had it delivered to my kindle app on my iPad. The cost was $105, versus used on Amazon for $140, new on Amazon $160 and new at the bookstore for $220 or rented from the bookstore for $110.

  28. dush says:

    Now professors will make you buy 3 ipads just for one English class.

  29. lihtox says:

    Careful, if you make a book with iBooks Author, Apple wants its cut: http://venomousporridge.com/post/16126436616/ibooks-author-eula-audacity

  30. aaron8301 says:

    So, the iPad can do things that we’ve been doing on computers for years. Impressive.

  31. soj4life says:

    So they are making their own version of adobe air, to run on an oversized and overpriced ipod made in sweatshops. Why again do people buy their crap?