Apple’s play for the schoolyard

Apple’s latest announcement may have nothing to do with the entertainment industry, but it’s a clear signal that this tech giant is interested in branching out far beyond its current fields of interest. Ibooks2

At a press conference today in New York, the company rolled out a new version of iBooks that is squarely targeted at the educational marketplace – specifically primary and high school.

Textbook that are included under the iBooks 2 umbrella (which became available Thursday) will be interactive, full-screen digital versions of the classroom standards that use video and animations, along with the familiar swiping and pinching gestures.

Additionally, the company introduced a new version of iTunes, which will focus on iTunes U. Previously, that learning program was focused at a college and post-grad audience. Now, the company’s opening it up to K-12.

The emphasis for now is on high school books, which will cost $15 or less. Early publishing partners include Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Together, those companies control roughly 90 percent of the market. Additionally, Apple is also working with DK Publishing to create books for younger audiences.

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