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Apple Announces iBooks 2 with $14.99 Textbooks

Last week Apple confirmed rumors that it was to hold an event based around the theme of 'education' in New York City. That event took place at 10 a.m. this morning, with Cupertino bringing to fruition the many reports that said the company would take on the textbook industry. Apple' SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller today took the wraps off iBooks 2, a new version of its iBooks iOS app that offers new and interactive textbooks from publishers such as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson. iBooks 2 features support for interactive 3D objects, diagrams, videos and photos and according to Apple, most of the titles will be available for $14.99 or less.

"Education is deep in Apple’s DNA and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet. With 1.5 million iPads already in use in education institutions, including over 1,000 one-to-one deployments, iPad is rapidly being adopted by schools across the US and around the world," Phil Schiller said today. "Now with iBooks 2 for iPad, students have a more dynamic, engaging and truly interactive way to read and learn, using the device they already love."

Apple also announced a new app, called iBooks Author, that allows writers to easily create these new and interactive textbooks, as well as cookbooks, history books, and picture books, and publish them to Apple’s iBookstore. Authors begin with Apple-designed templates that offer a range of templates and add text and images by dragging and dropping. For the more interactive aspect of the book. there's Multi-Touch Widgets that allow you to add photo galleries, 3D objects and Keynote presentations.

Both iBooks 2 and iBooks Author are available today for free.