iBooks 2 FeaturesAnnounced last week, Apple Special Education Event which took place today in NYC's Guggenheim Museum unveiled the second version of iBooks app and iTunes U app. Phil Schiller took the stage and begun by saying that Apple is happy "to bring the same passion and energy that we put into every product we make into our education business." He also underlined the fact that 1.5 million iPads are used in education and over 20k apps were special made for this. Unfortunately, US education is not that bright (17th in reading, 21st in math and 23rd in the sciences globally), and Apple wants to change this by reinventing the textbook. Even if the textbooks have amazing content, they have a lot of problems: they are not portable, durable, interactive or searchable. On the other hand the iPad had all of these features, but it lacked the amazing content.

By introducing iBooks 2 app Apple wants to change this. During the live event they demoed an interactive app where we were able to see how virtual textbooks will look, and I have to say that this is beyond a textbook. Using your own finger you have the ability to interact with 3D models, videos and interactive content.Apple iBooks 2 DemoAnd besides having the chance to work in a rich environment you also get the advantages of using an iPad: long-life battery, searchable, durable, portable. Not to mention that you can take notes, highlight, and Q&A sesssions at the end of the chapters. Textbooks will be introduced as a new category that will be available at same time as the iBooks 2 app.

To make this possible Apple teamed up with important partners from the textbook market — Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who together make 90 percent of the textbooks available. This textbooks will cover grades 7-12 and a lot of domains and all will be available for $14.99 or less.Apple iBooks AuthorFor those that want to create textbooks, Apple announced the iBooks Author app. This is free to download, but only available for Mac OS. This app allows users to incorporate HTML, 3D objects, Q&A, interactive content and much more inside a textbook.Apple iTunes U AppApple also announced an app designed for teachers called iTunes U. Teachers can use the app and interact with their students by streaming them posts, assignments, messages and interactive full courses with videos, books, documents and apps. For start, there are over 100 courses made available by the colleges that started using this app. If in the past iTunes U was available only for universities, now Apple is making it available to K-12 classes. iTunes U app is made available on the App Store free of charge.