Thursday, January 19, 2012

What Apple's education announcement means to you.

Hey again, I'd like to take a little time to weigh in on an important issue which has been really controversially received today, about Apple's update to iBooks as well as a standalone iTunes U app. For me personally, this is an incredible innovation, one which will certainly encourage me to even probably buy a textbook or two outside of academia, just for learning. The $15 cap on prices for these incredible, interactive experiences which major publishers have signed on to build is incredible, and means that you won't have to worry about waiting in line at the bookstore, lugging books around all semester, and then worrying about having to sell them back to bookstores or to friends. Also, when information changes in these textbooks, publishers can make updates to content which will be reflected instantly via update to anyone who bought the textbook. People who are just entering university will be able to purchase an entire semester of textbooks for 75$ at most (prices on textbooks for major publishers are capped by Apple at 14.99 apiece on an exclusivity contract). This means that for about $600 initial investment (more if you want more storage for music on the iPad) you can replace a stack of textbooks which can cost easily more than 100 each. This investment, in the vast majority of cases, will pay off within a year. The big thing is, though, that content in these interactive touch textbooks can include full-color, zooming photographs, text whose size can be changed, an internet-powered encyclopedic dictionary, highlighting, underlining, video clips, interactive hands-on applets built-in to enhance the experience even more. I'm really jealous of the generation just entering university, this is something that is going to change all schooling for the better. Down with paper!