Apple’s education media event on Thursday suggests Apple are primed and ready to enter the world of digital publishing. As we pointed out in our last article, evidence suggests that Apple is likely to bring important changes to the iBook platform with a particular focus on academia and furthermore push into the education industry. Previously, thoughts have focused on Apple improving the iTunes U platform and trying to use this as a gateway into educational institutions. Others believe that Apple are planning on upgrading the iBooks platform and distribution method to remove the intermediates of the publishing industry.

A number of key players in this industry have made some interesting observations; Matt MacInnis, CEO of Inkling pointed out one of the main issues facing Apple is that they,

“do not have a history of building software specific to any particular vertical market, and so we believe they’ll continue to allow their developers to work in this area.

Cult Of Mac believe that Apple:

“intends to slowly take control of the book publishing industry… by providing the leading tools and cloud infrastructure for authors to create and then market their books directly to readers starting with the education segment of the publishing market.”

Interestingly, MacInnis had similar thoughts to this noting,

“We think Apple could devalue traditional textbooks, but not necessarily by replacing them with something data-driven, interactive and pedagogically sophisticated. Instead, we think Apple could make it easy for others to create baseline content that serves ostensibly the same purpose as a print book, pushing the market dollars in search of more effective learning tools.”

If Apple do introduce a system that connects textbook authors to readers and removes the intermediate publishers, we are likely to see an interesting future in medical textbooks. Apple may be trying to reinvent the iPad as a learning platform and content distribution service in much the same way as companies like Inkling and the Khan Academy are. Using Apple as a source of medical textbooks means that distribution costs may go down enabling easier access. Furthermore Apple is poised to bring a range of interactive features to iBooks as illustrated by their free release of the Yellow Submarine book which demonstrated a range of media, annotation and other creative features. If Apple do offer publishing tools and remove the intermediates in the publishing industry then we are likely to see a very exciting time as MacInnis says,

“Apple will encourage others to produce content for that ecosystem, and if they can reach a critical mass of content, they might very well make the traditional textbook obsolete for iPad users.”

whilst Cult Of Mac believes that,

“Apple will begin the long process of reinventing the textbook industry as a stepping stone to eventually reinventing the entire publishing industry.”

Apple taking control of publishing would have interesting ramifications in what has been a relatively inactive market. Imagine the possibilities of updates to textbooks being pushed to your iPad in the same simple fashion as updating an app. What is clear is that the future of publishing is not page-bound as the educational market has not responded well to textbooks that are essentially PDF copies.


Thanks to Matt MacInnis, CEO of Inkling for offering his unique insight into the issues facing companies such as Inkling in advance of Apple’s media announcement.

Source: Cult Of Mac