Apple today introduced iBooks 2, a new version of the company’s e-book software for iPad that provides fullscreen textbooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, and easy navigation. The application itself is free, and textbooks will be available for $14.99 or less in most cases. Educational partners providing e-textbooks in the iBooks2 store include Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Pearson, and McGraw-Hill.
Apple also announced iBooks Author, a new native Mac OS X tool that allows users to create e-books for the iPad on their Macs. iBooks Author provides basic and customizable book templates, support for import from common word-processing formats, the ability to add multimedia anywhere on a page, support for widgets, accessibility tools, and support for export to PDF or iBooks formats, as well as to submit to iBookstore for publication. The application is available now as a free download.
Also announced today, iTunes U for iPad, which enables educators to create and deliver online courses for free. As of today, there are six universities offering online courses via iTunes U, and now the application is available to K-12 educators, too.