As usual with Apple’s events, the real magic isn’t in watching the presentation – it is in seeing new products in action. Engadget spent some hands-on time with Apple’s new interactive textbooks after today’s press event, and they were very impressed with what they saw.
Interacting with the books is a generally intuitive combination of tapping, swiping and pinching. You can pinch from any page to get out to the heading of that chapter, then drag along a bar on the bottom to quickly go from one chapter to the next. When you’re looking at any page, you can get a closer view of any of the media there by simply pinching it. Tiny picture of an ant? Give it a nudge and it’s full-screen. You can then swipe through galleries, play movies and interact with various other widgets that authors can drop in place.
As you can see from the above video, the new interactive textbooks are pretty spectacular. But honestly, I would have expected no less from Apple. The real test of whether or not schools actually adopt Apple’s digital textbooks in the classroom.
Apple’s main focus, at least for the moment, is in kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms, with all of the current textbooks in the iBookstore being intended for high school students. The books require the recently released iBooks 2.0 to view, and the latest version of iTunes, 10.5.3, is required to sync textbooks with a Mac.