Apple announces education event in New York City to take place next Thursday, Jan. 19

Education

Last week Apple sent out invitations for a special event set to take place this Thursday, Jan. 19, at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the theme of the event is an “education announcement in the Big Apple.”

As you can see in the image above, the invitation features a chalkboard-style drawing outlining the skyline of New York, with the addition of the Apple logo in the center.

The event is expected to focus on improvements to the iBooks platform with a main emphasis on education and digital textbook publishing. According to rumors the event will try to combine the iTunes U, a free service Apple provides that gives access to educational content, with iBooks.

Previous reports have said Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was heavily involved in this project, before he passed away this past October. According to biographer Walter Isaacson Jobs told him “that textbooks were one of the products he wanted to reinvent, along with photography and televisions.”

We will keep you updated on where to follow the event over the next few days, so keep checking back.

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Apple releases iBooks update adds Nighttime reading mode

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Apple has issued an update to its iBooks app on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Version 1.5 of iBooks brings two major additions: a nighttime reading theme and full-screen mode.

The update also brings several new fonts, more covers for public domain books, pop-up footnotes, and a redesigned annotation palette.

What’s New in Version 1.5

iBooks 1.5 adds the following new features as well as some stability and performance improvements:

• Nighttime reading theme makes reading books in the dark easier on the eyes.
• Full-screen layout lets you focus on the words without distraction.
• iBooks now features an improved selection of fonts, including Athelas, Charter, Iowan, and Seravek.
• Beautiful new classic covers for public domain books.
• A redesigned annotation palette makes it easier to choose a color for your highlighted text.

The new full-screen mode is great because you don’t have to turn it on or off. The app automatically hides your reading options and iOS status bar once you start reading. Simply tap anywhere on the screen to see your options in either landscape or portrait orientation.

iBooks 1.5 can be downloaded for free in the App Store.

Apple Updates iBooks With Nighttime Reading Theme, Full-Screen Mode, And More

iBooks app updated with ‘read aloud’ feature

Earlier today Apple released version 1.3 of iBooks. According to the product description page, the update adds several new features and improvements including improved responsiveness and autoplay of video or audio in enhanced books. Plus, it addresses an issue where some books displayed the same page twice.

The really big news however is in the new feature which gives iBooks 1.3 the ability for select children’s books to be read aloud. According to Apple this feature will “Help your children learn to read with the new read-aloud feature included in select children’s books from the iBookstore. The read-aloud feature uses a real narrator to read the book to you, and in some books, it will even highlight the words as you read along.”
iBooks

Apple Raising iBookstore Visibility by Exhibiting at BookExpo America

paidContent reports that Apple is looking to increase the visibility of its iBookstore by participating in the upcoming BookExpo America trade show with a booth in a “prime location” on the exhibit floor. The booth marks Apple’s first appearance at the event and a rare appearance by the company at a third-party trade show, especially since its effort to essentially eliminate such participation that culminated in the company exiting Macworld Expo several years ago.

The company has a large booth in a prime location, next door to Scholastic and in the same area as major publishers including Random House, Disney (NYSE: DIS) Book Group and Macmillan. BEA’s website notes that Apple will be represented by Scott Simpson from Apple’s iBookstore.

Apple is not expected to make any particular product or service announcements at the conference, and is likely attending simply to raise its profile in the e-book market as it seeks to grow share competing against such major players as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Amazon Kindle App released on Mac App Store!

Earlier, Amazon released the  Kindle for Mac software on the Mac App Store.

While the Kindle for Mac has been available for a while, always as a free download. The significance of it showing up on the Mac App Store is that it signals that major players are taking the Mac App Store seriously. What remains to be seen is if other major developers like Microsoft and Adobe will also add their apps to the Mac App Store. If they do, they’ll be giving Apple a 30% cut of their profits. That is, unless Apple cuts a better deal with them to get their major apps in the store.

Apple to update iBooks soon!

It has been a while since our favorite e-book reader has seen an update, however now the rumors are getting more and more intense. According to both a recent Steve Jobs Email and 9to5Mac.com all of that is about to change.

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Image Source 9to5Mac.com

This would be the second sizable update to iBooks after enabling PDF-opening from the Mail app, the biggest feature is that iBooks will allow user created subfolders for organization purposes. As it currently stands, iBooks has two default collections, as it were. The buttons that switch from your PDF collection to your Books collection are apparently going to become a single one just named “Collections” (possibly with an overlay dropdown letting you choose which subfolder). Titles will be able to migrate from one collection to another.

Another new feature will allow for AirPrint which will allow you to get paper copies of your PDFs as well though this feature does not extend to EPUBs. PDFs will also have email capability, so if you’re somewhere without an AirPrint capable printer you can email the PDF to a desktop with a standard wired printer.

Now all we can do is wait and keep our fingers crossed that the next update will be noteworthy and awesome, but with Apple behind the release how can it not be amazing. What would you like to see in a new update, leave us a comment below.

Apple releases second iBooks update in one week.

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It seems as if Apple has nothing better to do these days than update iBooks, only last week did they release the iBooks 1.1.1 update which as we reported introduced the ability to double-tap an image within a book in order to view it in greater detail and the ability to experience books that include audio and video, among other fixes, and now they have already released a new update, which “Addresses a minor issue when updating iBooks.”

While we can’t tell what it’s actually fixed (everything was working fine for us), other users have reported that their books had gone missing during the previous update, and have now magically reappeared.

If you want to download the update, either hit iTunes or use this direct link.

New redsn0w upgrade fixes iBooks problem!

After we had jailbroken the iOS 4 using redsn0w, we noticed something rather annoying, iBooks simply stopped working, the app opens and then crashes. If you are in the same position then here is some good news, the dev team behind redsn0w have released an upgrade which should fix the iBooks problem.

You will need to run the new redsn0w 0.9.5b 5-4 in order to ratify the iBooks glitch on your iPhone 3G/3GS and iPod Touch 2G. According to Dev Team the official change statement goes like:

There’s a new redsn0w beta that should fix any iBooks problems people were seeing.  Just run this new version 0.9.5b5-4 and deselect Cydia (you don’t want to reinstall Cydia over itself).

Below are the download links for the resn0w 0.9.5b 5-4 upgrade
windows
Mac

redsn0w_iphone_3g_multitasking_wallpaper_enable

Please note that you should de-select the option to Install Cydia as it was already installed with the earlier jailbreak, so you do not have to install it again.

If you need any help then simply follow our previous guide on How To jailbreak the iPhone!

Reading on paper is still faster than on the iPad.

ipad
Well this is interesting, according to a new study conducted by Dr. Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group, it will take you longer to read a book on an iPad or Kindle compared to the printed page. More precisely it will take you almost 11 percent longer than if you were reading a printed book.

Nielsen compared the reading times of 24 users on the Kindle 2, an iPad using the iBooks application, a PC monitor and good old fashioned paper. What’s interesting however is that despite the slower reading times, Nielsen found that users preferred reading books on a tablet device compared to the paper book.

According to the study, the test subjects were reading 6.2 percent slower on an iPad compared to paper, and 10.7 percent slower on the Kindle 2. Interestingly, Nielsen’s results appear to show that reading on the iPad is significantly faster compared to the Kindle 2.

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It would be interesting to test whether people in their 20s read faster on a screen than a book since they’ve spent a majority of their lives consuming digital content? How would the younger group compare to people in their late 30s and early 40s?

Add PDF files to iTunes for syncing with iBooks.

If you have tried adding PDF files to iTunes for syncing with iBooks on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch then you will know that this isn’t as easy as it sounds. However here is a method which should make it easier for you to send any document or even web page straight to the Books section of iTunes for syncing with ease.

To get iTunes ready is simple. All you have to do is open your Applications folder, and make an alias of iTunes by control-clicking its icon and selecting ‘Make Alias’.

Now drag your newly-created alias and drop it in [Your Home folder] → Library → PDF Services. What this does is adds iTunes as an option when you select the PDF button in a Print dialog.

If you did everything correct, then when you click the PDF button under Print, it’s going to say ‘iTunes alias’, which isn’t very informative. So the last thing you will want to do is rename the iTunes alias in the Finder to something along the lines of ‘Send PDF to iTunes’ or ‘Add PDF to iTunes’ and the menu item in the Print dialog should update next time you open it.

Now whenever you have a document or web page open that you’d like to read in iBooks, all you have to do is go to File → Print, then click the PDF button in the lower left and choose your menu item for iTunes. The document will be saved as a PDF and sent straight into the Books section of your iTunes library.

itunes-pdf

To test if it was really added to your Book section, just open iTunes, and check if it was added.