Apple announced a pair of education initiatives Thursday that the company hopes will take its iPad to the head of the class.
Speaking at a press event at New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Apple executives showed off a new version of the iBooks e-reader app optimized for electronic textbooks as well as a Mac program that can build those textbooks. In addition, Apple is taking its successful iTunes U lecture series and turning it into a mobile app aimed at including course materials beyond just lectures.
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Thursday saw the release of an update to iBooks, Apple's e-reader app. Version 2 of iBook adds support for interactive, fullscreen textbooks. Those new-and-improved textbooks are available for download from a new Textbooks section in Apple's iBookstore.
And how will those textbooks be created for the iPad? With the new iBooks Author tool Apple released on Thursday. The free Mac application draws on Apple's iWork line to make it easy to create electronic textbooks with interactive elements, charts, and other multimedia content.
Finally, Apple also released a new iTunes U app, which provides a way for students and teachers to manage course material for classes on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. It's a free download from the iOS App Store.
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