Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

The hottest news of the week in the publishing world was the announcement by Apple that they were launching the iBooks 2 app.

This app allows anyone to create their own ebook. It is mainly for authors wanting to create textbook ebooks for studying, with the app allowing them to upload content such as videos, images, Word docs etc into the app, which then works out how best to lay out the content.

This app will potentially lower the amount of huge heavy print books which students have to lug around campus and makes it easier to find what you are looking for. Although i guess you’d need to have an iPad in the first place which isn’t cheap, although if these ebook textbooks are cheaper than the paper versions then maybe you could afford one (or possibly not with the recent hiking up of tuition fees).

Publishers have already made use of the iPad for children’s books, and there are some beautiful ebooks out there for the iPad which i’ve seen and tried out for myself, although i still would be a little reluctant to give my expensive iPad to a small child to use, wouldn’t you? The pictures and animations are really lovely, colourful and appealing, which makes a children’s book more special.

Textbooks seemed like the next obvious target by publishers to try to digitise, as they contain far more content than other books and have always seemed rather dull. I guess with the iPad app we can now create beautiful ebook versions of these textbooks which we can interact with and make learning more enjoyable. We already have seen what can be done with textbook content in apps, the most famous being The Elements app:

Textbook ebooks look like they could be pretty big if done well, and it will be interesting to see how this works.
Here is a video explaining about the iBooks 2 app:

The video points out some interesting points about the old print textbook: They are outdated almost as soon as they are published, as new discoveries are made all the time, and the time-consuming process of publishing a book means that a textbook can be up-to-date upon its induction but by the time it reaches the shop it can be several months out of date. The ability to update the content of an ebook as new information is discovered would allow students to keep on top of developments. It may make it a bit harder to keep track of quotes a student may take from a book if new content is added, making referencing a little bit harder, but we’ll see how this works. Another point is that print textbooks are static, so if you are studying science, then ebooks make it possible to show images as animations so they look more like the real thing they are describing.

However, according to the Guardian, the textbooks will only be available in the US for now, which means the rest of us will have to wait! My main concern is that with tuition fees going up by massive amounts, students will be unable to afford to buy these textbooks, whether or not they have an iPad (and i can’t imagine many will do, i rarely saw them when i was at uni not long ago), so one hopes that libraries will buy them in so students can borrow them, but i guess that in itself will conjure up a load of trouble with lending, as we’ve already witnessed with other ebooks.

These textbooks can open a whole new way of learning, which is an exciting prospect. They look more interesting than print books, and the ability to interact with the content within the book makes it a more compelling reading experience, and if i was learning a subject as heavy and information-packed as medicine or something, i would want a more exciting way of learning about it! And it also makes it easier to take notes by simply highlighting text with your fingers and pasting it into your notes, which seems a lot easier than writing it all down by hand! I only wish i’d had this when i was at school/university, would have made life a lot easier, even though i was only studying literature and language and not science or anything!

I wonder what you think of iBooks 2? Feel free to comment!

Articles consulted:
Telegraph.co.uk: Apple iBooks 2 app lets authors make their own books

Engadget.com: Apple ibooks 2

Guardian.co.uk: Apple unveils ibooks 2 textbooks ipad

I found this strange contraption today while surfing the internet, the Wallee.

It is a hardback case for the Ipad, which can be mounted on the wall with a special bracket.

Now, i find this a bit odd, as the point of the Ipad is that it is a portable computer, and attaching it to a wall kind of defies the point. Still, i guess it could be useful if you are using your Ipad for recipes and have nowhere to put it while cooking, or if you don’t want it lying around on your desk or something… but this wouldnt really work if you’re watching films on your Ipad…. its still too small to be a good viewing from a distance! There are photos on the their website of it being attached to the dashboard of a car, but i think that just adds danger to the product, as it wouldn’t be any safer than using a mobile phone in the car while driving.

I have to say, it looks kind of tacky in the colours available!

You decide what you think! See this product for yourself at The Wallee website.

Or watch the Youtube video manual:

Lately i’ve found myself wanting one of the tablet devices available on the market at the moment. I’ve physically held an Ipad twice, and i have to admit it is fairly cool!

I was originally put off touchscreen after having bought a touchscreen phone last summer and it dying on me so many times over the weekend i had it, that i sent it back and bought myself the QWERTY keypad version of that same phone model, fed up with the technical hitches i had with the touchscreen. Maybe it was just a faulty phone, but i was so excited about owning a touchscreen phone that it ruined it for me!

Of course, with one of these special touchscreen tablet devices, maybe i will find some satisfaction in the touchscreen, something i was unable to enjoy before. However, i am stuck with the problem of which tablet to choose from, because although we only ever hear about the Ipad (let’s face it, Apple is the big rich guy of technology and therefore has more means of promoting its products), there are plenty of other devices out there on the market.

(I’m not going to describe the Ipad, i think it has enough airtime as it is! It would be boring to harp on and on about it when most people know about it anyway! and for my earlier posting on the Ipad see Ipads in Society)

The list of Tablet Devices which i found on the market:

1) Samsung Galaxy Tab

  • 7 inch touchscreen
  • Two cameras (3.2 megapixels and 1.9 megapixels)
  • runs Android 2.2
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Adobe Flash support
  • Weighs 380g
  • Looks slick and smart, looks rather like a bigger version of their Samsung Genio Touch phone… same Samsung style, which is fairly attractive.
  • This one seems to be a serious contender, and is the one which i would choose to buy if i don’t go for an Ipad!

For more information see Samsung Galaxy Tab @ Samsung.com

2) Blackberry Playbook Tablet

  • 7 inch touchscreen
  • front and rear mounted cameras (3-megapixel and 5-megapixel)
  • runs RIM’s  QNX OS
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Another smart and sleek device! Blackberry’s phones are hugely popular, so I think maybe that could sway many people to buy it.
  • Doesn’t seem to be available yet, but seems to be due to be released at some point within 2011

For more information see Blackberry Playbook Tablet @ Blackberry.com

3) Dell Streak

  • 5 inch touchscreen
  • 5.0M Rear-Facing Auto-Focus Camera + VGA Front-Facing Camera
  • runs Android 1.6 or 2.2
  • Dimensions - 6 x 3.1 x 0.4 inches
  • It seems to be a hybrid, basically a mix of smartphone and tablet
  • Smaller than other tablets available, seems more like the size of an IPhone…  but a bit bigger – it works as a mobile phone, but is a bit on the big side!
  • Literally just seems like a supped up touchscreen smartphone, isn’t as cumbersome as most tablet devices. It is being marketed as being the pocket tablet which actually will fit in your pocket, so maybe that will benefit those who want a tablet but not a big clunky thing like the Ipad!

For more information see Dell Streak @ Dell.com

4) Advent Vega tablet

  • 10.1 inch touchscreen
  • runs Android 2.2
  • Wi-fi
  • Weighs 700g-750g
  • Dimensions - 13.6 x 275 x 178mm
  • Looks like it has a fairly simple system for a tablet
  • Looks fairly attractive and simply designed

Advent Vega @Adventcomputers.co.uk

So there you go, a selection of alternatives to the Ipad, some of which are probably better than others, but i can’t be too selective over which is best because i have never tried any of the above!

With any luck, in a few months i’ll be able to afford to buy one of these, but for now i can just dream!

Thanks for reading!