Today, Apple announced the next version of iBooks at their New York education event. This update focuses on bringing textbooks to the digital age. iBooks 2 allows books, specifically textbooks for schools, the ability to add interactive aspects. Textbooks are no longer static. Tap on a picture, and a movie will play. Page elements don’t just sit there anymore. Pinch to zoom in, and see the illustration come to life with animation.
If you’re focused on just reading instead of interacting, though, switching to portrait mode will bring you right back to the boring old black and white. Also, the interface is noticeably less obnoxious. A lot less “IT’S JUST LIKE A BOOK,” and a lot more cool.
Very interestingly, the summary of each chapter is now interactive as well. Instead of just checking boxes, you’ll be able to get immediate feedback on what you retained from the chapter, and what you forgot.
Flashcards and notes are also important tools, so iBooks is tackling them as well. Just a few taps, and the content from your book is now in a flashcard for you to study with. Better yet, you can randomly shuffle them so you’re not dependent on the order. Highlighting and notetaking are always easily accessible.
Of course, all of the benefits of iBooks remain. Once you purchase a book, you can keep it forever and redownload it at will.
This is a free update to the iBooks app, and it is available today.