Apple’s iBooks app running on an iPad.
Apple takes the wraps off its education-related announcement Thursday morning. But what exactly will we get as the big reveal?
Perhaps kudos are in order for this being one of the first Apple events in recent memory where all the details are not out in the wild a day ahead of time…or are they?
CNET’s rounded up a slew of rumored tidbits from all over the Web to try to piece together a vision of what we’ll know come Thursday. Some could be spot on, while others could be wildly inaccurate.
One thing’s for sure: CNET will be there live, on the scene from the Guggenheim Museum in New York, to bring you the news as it’s announced. More information on how to follow along can be found at the bottom of this post. In the meantime, let’s jump in.
Digital textbooks (for students)
Digital textbooks could be announced Thursday, capping off expectations set by Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. In it, Isaacson noted that Jobs had “set his sights on textbooks,” seeing the $ 8 billion a year business as something that was “ripe for destruction.”
That “destruction” wasn’t getting rid of text books though. Jobs’ “idea was to hire great textbook writers to create digital versions, and make them a feature of the iPad,” Isaacson wrote in the book. “In addition he held meetings with the major publishers such as Pearson Education, about partnering with Apple.”
The Wall Street Journal weighed in on the matter earlier this week, suggesting we’ll see the addition of textbooks created specifically to work with Apple’s publisher tablet, alongside a handful of partnerships with textbook publishers who are offering digital versions of their catalog for sale through Apple’s iBookstore.
Presumably these books would not be limited to just one device type if sold on Apple’s iBookstore. However Apple could have developed new features in iBooks, or a companion application that gives textbooks new tricks.
New software (for publishers)
A report in Ars Technica earlier this week suggested Apple’s using its event to launch new tools for creating and publishing digital textbooks. That includes software that helps authors and publishers produce textbooks, akin in overall simplicity to what the outlet compared to as Apple’s Garageband audio software.
The Ars report also suggested Apple was adopting support for ePub 3, the free and open e-book standard that Apple supports an earlier version of.
Adding to that, The Wall Street Journal followed up Wednesday, saying that Roger Rosner, Apple’s vice president for productivity applications, has been “closely involved” in the project being announced Thursday, and that it is–in fact–about tools to create digital text books. The Journal suggested that Rosner’s involvement would make sense given that he’s the one heading up the company’s Mac and iOS productivity software including Pages, Keynote and Numbers.
No new hardware (for you)
Looking for a new iPad on Thursday? Don’t hold your breath.
The rumor mill has overwhelmingly pegged March as the month of the iPad 3′s arrival, with a report Wednesday suggesting we’ll see it introduced next month. More importantly, the venue is New York, and the last major Apple hardware announcement made there was the CDMA iPhone for Verizon, which–to put it bluntly–was a mid-cycle refresh of the iPhone 4.
One thing we could see though are additional deals that put the iPad in more schools. If not that, expect to see Apple give an update on how many institutions have programs in place, including K-8 and higher education.
Thursday’s event kicks off at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT. Apple is not providing a live stream of the proceedings, though could offer one after the fact as it’s done for previous news announcements. In any case, CNET will be there to bring you the news, which you can tune into that by bookmarking this page and coming back to it bright and early Thursday.
Editors’ note: The original, pre-event version of this story was posted January 18 at 4:00 a.m. PT.