Apple To Announce “GarageBand For eBooks” During Thursday’s Education Event [Rumor]

Apple To Announce “GarageBand For eBooks” During Thursday’s Education Event [Rumor]

Not much is known about Apple’s upcoming event on Thursday, January 19th. The entire industry seems to agree that Apple is ready to lead the way into a new frontier of digital textbooks through the iBookstore. Others suggest that the announcement will focus on making the world of digital publishing more attractive to authors — think “GarageBand for eBooks.”

Apple has reportedly been working with multiple publishers for months in preparation for its top secret event this week. Publishing house McGraw-Hill is expected to be one of the publishing houses present at the announcement at the Guggenheim museum in New York City.

According to The Wall Street Journal:

McGraw-Hill Cos., Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are among the education-publishing companies most likely affected by an Apple textbook announcement. The companies have experimented with interactive approaches, such as allowing students to take quizzes as they read and hear audio for foreign-language study, but many digital textbooks have looked a lot like their physical counterparts.

McGraw-Hill has been working with Apple on its announcement since June, a person familiar with the matter said. It wasn’t known whether Pearson and Houghton Mifflin also would participate.

Details are very scarce on what Apple has planned, but a hardware announcement doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Pundits have hinted that the announcement will be a big deal for Apple in the long run, with our own Mike Elgan prophesying that the Cupertino company is set to school Amazon on self-publishing.

According to Ars Technica’s sources, Apple will unveil “GarageBand for eBooks” on January 19th.

At the same time, however, authoring standards-compliant e-books (despite some promises to the contrary) is not as simple as running a Word document of a manuscript through a filter. The current state of software tools continues to frustrate authors and publishers alike, with several authors telling Ars that they wish Apple or some other vendor would make a simple app that makes the process as easy as creating a song in GarageBand.

Our sources say Apple will announce such a tool on Thursday.

Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he wanted to revolutionize textbooks and publishing for the digital age. According to his biography, Jobs wanted to make books “digital and interactive, tailored to each student and providing feedback in real time.” We’re going to see that vision unfold in three days.

  • Shameer Mulji

    I actually the read the Ars Technica article this post referenced.  If Apple does announce the article was talking about, that would be really cool.  It’s about time actually.  These new books would look great on that supposed Retina iPad 3 ;)

  • Cold_dead_fingers

    I’m super excited for the event. I hope it’s an announcement of college textbooks because it would be nice to essentially have one device do most of my school work.

  • Connor Mulcahey

    I am also very excited for this. After seeing what Inkling could do I knew the iPad had a future in textbooks, but there were two main problems. 1.) Inkling is a very small company taking on a huge industry, and lack the resources needed to revolutionize that industry and 2.) Publishers are greedy and make more money off of printed books. If apple were to do this it could solve both of those problems and be better for the environment yadda-yadda-yadda. I hope that they have enough publishers aboard by the time I go to college that I won’t need to buy a single had copy of a textbook. 
    Also, Inkling did a lot of things right that I hope Apple does too (without just ripping off Inkling!). You should be able to buy you books by the chapter which Inkling does. Second you should be able to get updates for books as you do with apps rather than having to buy a new edition (though publishers make a TON of money off this so it isn’t likely) and lastly there should be a level of interactivity with the books as Inkling has where you can do things like
    -Take practice quizzes
    -View an animation of a concept
    -Rotate a 3D model of a molecule or body part or whatever

    This could be Insanely Great for the user, the ideas are out there, Apple has the money and the platform, just the publishers need to stop being greedy.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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