Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 17th Jan 2012 13:54 UTC
Apple "Apple is slated to announce the fruits of its labor on improving the use of technology in education at its special media event on Thursday, January 19. While speculation has so far centered on digital textbooks, sources close to the matter have confirmed to Ars that Apple will announce tools to help create interactive e-books - the 'GarageBand for e-books', so to speak - and expand its current platform to distribute them to iPhone and iPad users." While the textbook industry needs some massive disruption, am I the only one who thinks a solution over which Apple has total editorial control and which is limited entirely to Apple PCs and iOS devices is a really stupid idea? That's like going from Scylla to Charybdis.
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Seems revolutionary
by No it isnt on Tue 17th Jan 2012 15:21 UTC
No it isnt
Member since:
2005-11-14

Now Apple will get publicly funded schools to force parents into buying their overpriced hardware.

Reply Score: 8

Math as an example
by pqnelson on Tue 17th Jan 2012 15:28 UTC
pqnelson
Member since:
2012-01-17

Mathematicians have, for years now, written their work up in LaTeX and simply posted it online for anyone to use.

For a single example, Georgia Tech's directory of free math textbooks (http://people.math.gatech.edu/~cain/textbooks/onlinebooks.html)

I don't understand why this cannot be done across the board in...well, at least the sciences.

Physicists do this, to a degree. Some of their lecture notes on advanced physics may be found on arXiv.org, but there aren't many free elementary physics textbooks.

I can understand this would cause problems in the humanities. History can experience unique problems (e.g., the maps are hard to draw on the computer).

Edited 2012-01-17 15:45 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Math as an example
by Thomas2005 on Tue 17th Jan 2012 15:32 UTC in reply to "Math as an example"
Thomas2005 Member since:
2005-11-07

Mathematicians have, for years now, written their work up in LaTeX and simply posted it online for anyone to use.

For a single example, Georgia Tech's directory of free math textbooks (http://http://people.math.gatech.edu/~cain/textbooks/onlinebooks.ht...)

I don't understand why this cannot be done across the board in...well, at least the sciences.

Physicists do this, to a degree. Some of their lecture notes on advanced physics may be found on arXiv.org, but there aren't many free elementary physics textbooks.

I can understand this would cause problems in the humanities. History can experience unique problems (e.g., the maps are hard to draw on the computer).

First, thank you for the link, and second, please remove the first "http://" so the link works.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Math as an example
by mgarba on Tue 17th Jan 2012 18:34 UTC in reply to "Math as an example"
mgarba Member since:
2011-04-23

Thanks a lot for the links.

As for Thom's writing style: I really delight reading his posts here.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Math as an example
by lucas_maximus on Tue 17th Jan 2012 20:07 UTC in reply to "Math as an example"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

+1 for mentioning LaTeX, wrote my whole Dissertation in LaTeX ... excellent software.

ProText for Windows is very good if not a rather large download.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Tue 17th Jan 2012 17:47 UTC
Luminair
Member since:
2007-03-30

there are a bunch of new textbook innovation companies out there but I don't think any have changed the world. there is actually a need for "itunes for textbooks" done right, and apple will change the world again if they get it right.

the textbook industry is corrupt and terrible like the tobacco industry, and there are billions to be made on patches and gum...

Reply Score: 2

Really?
by zztaz on Tue 17th Jan 2012 17:56 UTC
zztaz
Member since:
2006-09-16

Of course Apple-only distribution would be bad. Of course limiting media to Apple-only devices would be bad.

But I don't see any indication of that. The article I read talks about Apple providing tools to make authoring e-books easier. I's like to see that happen. I'd like to see lots of tools, from anyone, that make it easier to produce high quality e-books. If Apple comes out with tools that produce industry standard portable formats, that can't be bad. Just like other Apple tools can produce industry standard portable formats for music and video.

Yes, Apple's version of ePub has some interoperability issues with non-iPad devices. It's a new standard which is still evolving, so that's not a surprise. But Apple does seem to understand that they need to support an open standard to stand a chance against Amazon.

Yes, I expect Apple to maintain their walled garden. Apple will continue to control the sale of iPad applications, and I don't like that. But I also expect that iPads will work with standard file formats from other sources. There's a difference between applications and data. It's not that I trust Apple to do what's good for consumers; I don't. But I do trust them to understand when supporting portability and open standards is good for Apple. Just as I trust that the big 5 publishers and the members of the RIAA and MPAA will continue to harm themselves as well as consumers due to their ignorance and short-term thinking.

Will these new tools support the creation of e-books without DRM? Will these tools support creation of e-books with Adobe DRM? Thom seems to think not. I think that these tools will support e-books without DRM as well as e-books using Apple's DRM. But it's all speculation until the tools are released.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Tue 17th Jan 2012 17:56 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

More DRM dissemination?

Reply Score: 4

The Big Question ...
by MacTO on Tue 17th Jan 2012 19:35 UTC
MacTO
Member since:
2006-09-21

Are school boards going to be willing to fund and collaborate over textbook development, in order to free themselves from tyranny of textbook publishers. If so, this will be a tremendous development that will ultimately reduce costs and allow for more differentiation of resources based upon regional needs. If not, they just found a way to make education more expensive (because publishers aren't going to sell the books for less even if printing and distribution costs virtually vanish).

Reply Score: 2

Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Tue 17th Jan 2012 20:55 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

"While the textbook industry needs some massive disruption, am I the only one who thinks a solution over which Apple has total editorial control and which is limited entirely to Apple PCs and iOS devices is a really stupid idea?"

Right now it's just a rumor, Apple hasn't announced anything yet.

Reply Score: 2

Not alone.
by bowkota on Tue 17th Jan 2012 23:53 UTC
bowkota
Member since:
2011-10-12

While the textbook industry needs some massive disruption, am I the only one who thinks a solution over which Apple has total editorial control and which is limited entirely to Apple PCs and iOS devices is a really stupid idea?


That would be pretty bad for everyone, Apple included. Wide adoption of ebooks is the goal and that involves everyone.

A good tool to speed things up would be very welcome. It's taking long enough.

Reply Score: 1

No surprise
by wocowboy on Thu 19th Jan 2012 10:36 UTC
wocowboy
Member since:
2006-06-01

Apple announces an event, rumors abound, OS News comes out with a link to an article against the subject of the event, no matter what it is, even though we really know NOTHING about what is going to be announced. Usual thing, moving on. Just once, wait till the event is over, analyze what has been announced and its potential effects, and THEN come out with the articles. At least then they relate to a REAL thing!

Reply Score: 1

another lame, biased article
by kristoph on Sun 22nd Jan 2012 20:15 UTC
kristoph
Member since:
2006-01-01

The only thing Apple has done is restricted control over ONE of the file formats produced by iBooks Author (a FREE app) to, essentially, it's own devices.

Note that this tool can produce other file formats so anyone who uses it can disseminate their books in whatever manner they want.

What really pisses me off about this dipshit article is that the fact that what Apple is trying to do is help thousands of (mostly American) students get access to affordable textbooks and the only thing we're fucking focusing on is how the file format is going to work. Talk about a lack of persecutive.

Reply Score: 2