Apple education event: Winners and losers

“Apple today announced its next-generation iBooks 2 for the iPad, which will include Textbooks for students to access engaging, high-quality and interactive content,” Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet.

“Apple also announced the iBooks Author application for Mac that allows teachers, educators, publishers and students alike to create e-books from an iWork-style interface,” Whittaker writes. “Considering that the run-up to the announcement was fraught with concern for the publishing industry, who will win and lose out from today’s announcement?”

Winners:
• Publishers
• Rich schools

Losers:
• Amazon
• Windows users
• Poor schools

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: How much are these “poor schools” paying for regular old antiquated paper textbooks for each student? Quite likely, there paying more than the cost of an iPad plus digital textbooks for each.

Related articles:
Apple reinvents textbooks with iBooks 2 for iPad – January 19, 2012
Apple unveils all-new iTunes U app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch – January 19, 2012
MacDailyNews presents live coverage of Apple’s ‘Big Apple’ education event – January 19, 2012

81 Comments

    1. Additional winners:

      Home-school students who can now actually afford real textbooks.
      Parents that can afford an iPad for furthering their children’s education in a school district that seems incapable of doing it properly.

    1. I think they are thinking that textbooks will cost money so poor schools will not be able to afford them…

      OF course, printed text books are free,,,,, right??

      Sounds like an interesting idea. The implementation will be interesting.

      1. I don’t know how much elementary, middle, and high school textbooks are, but if they’re anything compared to university textbooks, then yes, the iPad is a bargain.

        On the other hand, it depends on the refresh rate. I was just about to say that they could give a kid an iPad and have them keep it through K-12, but then again, technology would update during that time, so they’d have to have the kids have versions that are compatible with the current version of iBooks.

    2. Grade school texts don’t cost as much as college texts, so the cost:benefit to switching to iBooks is less appealing if there is not much money. Also, even if it is cheaper in the long run, a large capital expenditure of several hundred (or thereabouts) iPads is just not feasible on a shoestring budget.

      Also many schools own the textbooks and use the same ones for several years, effectively sharing the cost of a textbook between several different students. If each student needs his own iBook, it may not be cheaper at all.

      So yes, despite this great leap forward by Apple, the poor schools will miss out, at least initially, if they are expected to take on most of the cost of iPad iBooks for each student. Families that send their kids to “poor” schools will also in general not be able to afford these costs, so it does pose a problem.

      1. You’re forgetting the big advantage to iBooks: One purchase (to a school’s iPad) and it can be used for consecutive years (and thus students) and is updated as new material comes out. No more ripped pages, chocolate milk spilled all over it, or it simply wearing out or getting lost (Find My iPad).

        The capital expenditure is real, but schools have an annual budget for textbooks. Plus, the use of iPads can be phased in gradually, adding a grade level or two each year to stay within the ordinary textbook budget.

        1. looking at the way young kids treat textbooks (and school laptops for those who have them), the idea of cycling an iPad though several different students over several years doesn’t sound great. iPads are well built but I doubt they will survive that.

          Ask yourself why schools that have a laptop program make the student purchase them (or include it in their fees) and use their own machine throughout. Also look at what type of schools are able to do this – its not the poor ones. The exact same reasoning applies to iPads, does it not?

          1. I work as a laptop technician in a school district that has a laptop one-to-one program at the high school level in a so-called “poor” district. The students pay a small fee for the privilege of taking the laptop home, which is little more than an “insurance premium”. Damaged laptops are paid for at a reduced price, similar to a “deductible” and can also be paid with community service.

            Some students opt not to take the computer home at all and are simply allowed to use them while at school, which means they pay no fee at all.

            The cost of repair for damaged computers is much smaller than most would expect. iPads would be even cheaper, due to sturdier cases, lighter devices, and more ergonomic design. Sure, they would break, but the cost of repairs would still likely be insignificant versus the savings against textbooks.

            I did some rough calculations based on the number of textbooks needed for a student per semester ($40-60 a book, depending on subject). If each student were to receive an iPad that they used for four years with their books on them, the district would save approximately $1100 per student. If the student had two iPads during their 4-year high school period, they’d still save $600 (assuming the cheapest currently shipping iPad was purchased).

            That $600 per student would more than cover the cost of repairs for the devices, and money would still be saved. Trust me. This is a big deal.

            1. Oh, and those calculations are VERY rough and it’s possible that the savings could be higher or lower than $1100 per student, over a 4-year period. It would simply depend on the number of classes taken that require textbooks.

        2. You are also acting as if iPads are unbreakable. No more ripped pages, sure, but what happens I you drop a book (everyone does)? Not too much. Now what happens when you drop your iPad (and render all your textbooks unusable until repair)? I also wouldn’t say iPads are immune to effects of spilled liquids – it is after all a complex piece of machinery and liquid can certainly access the internals.

            1. That would add a lot of bulk (granted, still better than a bunch of textbooks) and the wedge shape would be quite awkward when switching between portrait and landscape.

          1. my 4 year old son has free access to our iPad for the last year…it has no case…and there isn’t a scratch on it. There are plenty of low profile cases out there that will be more than adequate.

          2. I’ve got a cheap case on my iPad1. I’ve dropped it 4 times at an average height of about 4 feet. No problems, scratches or chips.

            iPads can be made kid proofed with a cheap case.

          3. It’s called “risk mitigation”, it works better than hand wringing worry. You do not allow nonsense fears to trump progress and achievement.

            Squaretrade offers a warranty for just these items, many SMART districts ad these to their ipads. A smart district, properly planning also has a help desk and hot spares ready to go to keep the students participating while theirs is fixed. Docs are in the cloud so they are not lost.

            See no need to worry about that which can be managed…

      2. Actually, depends on the textbook. most early texts, K-4 or so are Workbooks. Fairly cheap. Maybe $15-20

        Most middle school texts are in the $50 range. High School textbooks are very expensive. $70 or more. And a typical kids has between 7 and a dozen texts. Half a dozen at $70, half a dozen paperbacks for English class, about $10, Maybe 3 to 5 workbooks at $15-20 each. Consider that typical Textbooks are often sent out for rebinding. Costing an additional $20 or so. This extends the life another few years. Good and bad… as now, kids are using Textbooks that are close to 12 or 15 years old. AND they are static. NOT interactive or live links to content online…

    3. Because they think “poor” schools won’t be able to afford iPads. They fail to factor in the savings given by textbooks costing $14,99 or less compared to traditional textbook costs, which can be $50-$100. Plus, schools need to replace them every couple of years due to wear and tear or out of date material.

      Plus, they fail to consider that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would be happy to supply grants to purchase those iPads.

  1. Apple has to do the same to publishing industy ie make a iMagazine Author app.

    Then they have to change the iBook Author app so that you can publish manuals and training material inside companies so that companies can lock them so that they are used only inside the companies and if the person changes job he/she loses those materials.

    This is an excellent day and good beginning.

  2. According to Uncle Walt, students would buy the books, not school districts. That book can not be resold. In the big picture, not sure how this saves money.

    Second, say a teacher publishes a iBook for teaching 2nd graders what a hypothesis is. They publish it. Teachers all over the country start to use it. Does the teacher get paid for their work?

    1. Eh …. I dont think you get it. A school can buy ipads, and load them with the books needed at each level, then lock the ipad down so that it can not be altered. No need to “resell”. Also, a committee determines which text books are to be used, not the teacher.

      1. Here’s the story I read on AllThingsD.
        http://allthingsd.com/20120119/apples-new-math-or-why-a-15-ebook-equals-a-75-paper-book/

        Here’s what caught my eye.

        “Under Apple’s new textbooks plan, though, McGraw-Hill will try something different: It will sell its books directly to each student (the student could either pay out of pocket, or the school could fund the purchase via a voucher/code), who will use the book for a year, then move on. They’ll be able to keep the digital text, but won’t be able to resell it or pass it along to another student, and McGraw-Hill anticipates that another set of students will buy new books the following year.”

    2. The teacher gets paid if they charge for the book (and someone buys it).

      Reselling books is overrated. New editions come out every 2 years or so, and thus the old edition becomes worthless. I had far more books from college not be able to be sold again due to new editions being published than ones I could resell, and even then the price for resale was pretty low. Often not even worth standing in line to get.

    3. $15 is the max price. Many will cost less. Some could be developed with grant money and distributed for free. Or funded with NFL money in exchange for naming rights (The Green Bay Packers Cheese Making Manual comes to mind, or the Dallas Cowboys Guide to Western History). Getting an iPad into every students hands is the challenge. At $500 a copy it’s doable with the political will. At $250 a copy it’s a no-brainer, even for US politicians.

  3. Rich schools and poor schools? Are you kidding me? Throwing out private schools which have already been way ahead of public schools for a long time, I’m not sure where Zack “head up his arse” Whittaker is getting his information from. All 50 states have laws on the books about the money spent per student in the schools. My kids who happen to go to a school in a more affluent neighborhood in bum-f*ck central Minnesota use the exact same textbooks that kids in the inner city of Minneapolis get to read. These textbooks cost a lot of money and it is yet to be seen what the difference in cost between iPads/iBooks and traditional hardcover textbooks will be.

  4. Not a few hours have yet passed since the event, and people are already criticizing what’s bad about it. You don’t like their ideas? Go start your own company and do it yourself.

  5. This is all so very exciting..can’t wait to see my grandchildren toting their iPads to school: every book, map, film, song: literally, the intellect of the entire history of man at their fingertips…talk about the opportunity to “learn at your own speed”…man, this is IT.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.