A Peek at Apple's Plans to Re-invent Textbooks

Illustration for article titled A Peek at Apples Plans to Re-invent Textbooks

ScrollMotion's been tapped to transmogrify textbooks published by McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and every standardized test-taking student's favorite, Kaplan. The WSJ says that education was indeed a "focal point" in the iPad's development, which we reported months ago.

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If you're over-analyzed the iPad keynote as much as we have, by now you've probably gotten the distinct sense that something felt like it was missing. One of those things, apparently, were Apple's ideas about re-inventing the textbook. (Not to mention magazines. And, mayyyybe, something more.)

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To see where this is going in the more immediate future, you can probably just look at what ScrollMotion already does for iPhone and iPod touch apps, since they're doing the heavy lifting getting these textbooks onto the iPad—they take digital versions of books from publishers and integrate features like search, page numbering and interactive elements. Hey, why read about the moon landing when you can watch it, right on your "book"?

The stuff we heard iPad announcement last week? Clearly, tip o' the iceberg. Oh, and I wonder how Amazon feels about this. Goodbye margin-sapping used books—I'm pretty sure that's how the publishers feel. How do I feel? I wonder if the GRE would've been more fun to study for on an iPad. "Oooo, Mini Squadron!" [WSJ]

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DISCUSSION

You know the key feature needed to truly make textbooks really work on a electronic device? A STYLUS! People still take notes and highlight the crap out of books, and typing notes on a virtual keyboard ain't gonna cut it, as won't scribbling them w/ your finger. A One Note like program might be nice, but w/o multitasking it seems like it would be a pain to switch between the e-reader and the note program.

A 'hybrid stylus' would be awesome, where you click a button to make it a highlighter, and click it again to make it a pen.