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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by zztaz on Tue 17th Jan 2012 17:56 UTC
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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.

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