Apple to enter the digital textbook fray?

By Dennis Carter, Assistant Editor
January 12th, 2012

Apple's invitation created an instant stir on social media sites.

Education-technology advocates took notice when the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs called the textbook industry “ripe for destruction” in his official biography. On Jan. 19, school technologists might just see what Jobs had in mind.

A flurry of speculation about Apple’s entry into the digital textbook market swept across Twitter, Facebook, and technology blogs after Apple released an invitation touting an “education announcement at the Big Apple” Wednesday afternoon.

The event will start 10 a.m. on Jan. 19 at New York City’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Observers and bloggers who track the technology giant’s every move said they expect the unveiling of an iBookstore that would operate like iTunes, Apple’s music store. The announcement is not expected to include any new Apple hardware like the much-anticipated iPad 3.

In Jobs’s official biography, penned by Walter Isaacson, Jobs mentions the U.S. textbook industry as one “ripe for destruction,” Isaacson wrote.

The “idea was to hire great textbook writers to create digital versions, and make them a feature of the iPad,” Isaacson wrote. “In addition he held meetings with the major publishers such as Pearson Education, about partnering with Apple.”

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2 Responses to “Apple to enter the digital textbook fray?”

January 16, 2012

Once again Apple is using education to just sell more hardware at a premium. Since Apple was the choice in the classrooms of the 80’s to now apple and other technology providers have not delivered increases in student achievement or in reducing the cost of education. I won’t hold my breath this time either. The text books will just end up costing the same per student with perhaps a revenue shift from publishers to Apple.

@rcreedon: No technology will make a real difference in teaching and learning until it’s in the hands of teachers and students, 24/7. The introduction of the iPad spurred an industry to think differently about that technology. Kudos to Steve Jobs and Apple! And, if you want some hard data that shows how this technology HAS made a difference, check out Canby School District in Oregon’s research: