The web is buzzing with rumors surrounding Apple’s late January media event. Following initial rumors that the event would be focused on publishing and iAd, and a second report suggesting that the focus would be on iBooks, a further report from Fox News’ Clayton Morris reveals further details.
According to Morris, the event will be focused on Apple’s role within education, and as we suggested in our previous article, may also have a strong focus on digital textbooks, and could involve two large project announcements.
Here is what I know from sources involved:
– This event will focus on iTunes University and Apple in education
– I learned of the event back in September when it was originally scheduled for late Fall in New York but it was eventually postponed.
– The event will be in New York rather than in the Silicon Valley because New York is more centrally located for textbook and publishing.
– This initiative has been in the making for years.
– The announcement will be small in size but large in scope: a big announcement in a demure space.
– I expect at least two large project announcements as they relate to Apple in education.
– Steve Jobs was intinimately [sic] involved with this project before his passing. He gave a hat tip to the textbook side of this project in the Isaacson biography.
– This will not be a hardware-related announcement.
As revealed in Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs, one of Jobs’ final goals was to revolutionize the textbook industry:
His idea was to hire great textbook writers to create digital versions, and make them a feature of the iPad. In addition, he held meetings with major publishers, such as Pearson Education, about partnering with Apple.
Further, MacRumors notes that they’ve received information that Apple has filmed a series of short interviews with textbook industry execs, in a similar style to Apple’s promotional videos for new products and services, although there is no direct evidence tying the interviews with the January event.
While Morris has a mixed track record with Apple reports, his predictions nonetheless make a great deal of sense. It remains to be seen what Apple will actually reveal at the event, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a new system for digital textbooks was the main focus.
9to5Mac also suggests that the iTunes team is in “lockdown mode” prior to the event, strongly suggesting that the announcement is related to iTunes content, while Ars Technica claims that the announcement could likely involve support for a new enhahced EPUB format
Apple has recently highlighted the ability of its iBooks platform to include sound, video, and other features by offering a free eBook of The Yellow Submarine. And based on information from our own sources, we believe the announcement could likely involve support for the EPUB 3 standard, which enables a wider variety of multimedia and interaction features. Amazon recently announced its own similarly improved eBook standard using HTML5 and CSS3.
Digital textbooks carry a lot of potential, and so far Apple has yet to tap into the idea. Apple has long worked to increase the role of technology in education, and making important changes to iBooks to incorporate digital textbooks could be an excellent new step (and a huge money maker) for Apple.