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Apple wants to digitize text-books

Apple is planning to launch a revolutionary tool that makes the process of writing a book to comply with ePub publishing standards easy. McGraw-Hill Cos, has signed a deal with Apple to provide their textbooks digitally through a new system.

gadgets Updated: Jan 17, 2012 16:34 IST

Apple is expected to shake up the educational industry on Thursday at a media event taking place at the New York Guggenheim Museum.

We already knew the event was forthcoming, and placed our bets on a new eBook system for digital textbooks, along with a possibility of cut-price basic iPads to enter classrooms around the world. Many news publications are now speculating on what could come out of Apple's Education event on the 19th, with pretty much all sites sharing our estimate on digital textbooks. However, several websites, including The Wall Street Journal, have taken things a step further with new information from their sources.

WSJ reports that one big name textbook publisher; McGraw-Hill Cos, has signed a deal with Apple to provide their textbooks digitally through a new system, and reportedly been working closely alongside the Cupertino Company on the project since June of last year.

According to Ars Technica, Apple will indeed be announcing a new system for digitizing educational textbooks. Apple's eBook platform, iBook, currently uses ePub 2 formatting for the files published, which can cause some iBook-specific publications to not work on other devices and platforms. However, to combat this Apple is expected to announce that it will be using the new ePub 3 format going forward, thus making its digital book content compatible on a wider range of products.

Interestingly, the same sources report that Apple will launch a revolutionary tool that makes the process of writing a book to comply with ePub publishing standards easy. There are currently several viable software options available to authors today, though many have complained that the software is difficult and painstaking to use. Apple is aiming to simplify this process.

Apple is already providing thousands of schools with iPads to use in classrooms, but as yet those iPads still haven't replaced the good old textbook. However, on Thursday this is all set to change, and with the financial and trusted backing of a company as large as Apple, we could see the physical textbook industry replaced by a new digital era within the next 10 years.