On January 19th, 2012, Apple Inc. is scheduled to have an education related announcement in the heart of New York City. While many in the world are speculating that apple is trying to “destroy the textbook industry”, We suspect that they are just following up on several lines of thought.
First, Texas was the first in the nation to embrace to totally digital textbook idea. It currently saves the state 2 billion USD per year in text book costs. If Apple is really going to “destroy the textbook industry”, then it will have to have the help of three places. The Apple suppliers and factories. Apple needs to deliver the iPad3 immediately and it must have markedly superior capabilities to the current models with upgrades in nearly everything. The cameras, the memory, the UI, and of course the power of the machines. Second is the states. Apple also needs the states to buy the iPads and buy into the idea that digital text books are better than the paper ones. Thirdly, the textbook manufacturers. Apple is also going to have to get the current textbook publishing companies to go completely to digital copies of books and abandon the idea of printing books on paper (please tell me where we have heard this idea before). Of course, while we are at it, why not destroy the entire physical book industry. Could this not the end of the entire hold it in your hand type book industry? (Again, tell me where I have heard this before)
What little do we know that as of 19 January 2012, everything in our libraries will become controlled by computer and by the amount of memory in the computing device. If a glitch or hardware failure hits them, they are gone! Great idea! That way the book companies can charge consumers for another copy of a book they have already paid for. Thankfully, Apple has resolved this blight in the system for us by already incorporating that into the cost of the initial copy. But this will get people buying books from Apple and now it will be very easy for every book we ever order can be checked out by someone in the Ministry of Truth.
Second, the ebook publishing format currently used by Apple with their iBook store is epub2. epub2 is outdated and definitely not up to snuff with the current level of ideas in the digital publishing arena. They must implement epub3 and do it not only quickly but also they must support it with their announcement. If they fail to implement the new standards, they will not only not get the support from the publishing industry that they need, but they also will not get the teachers or the schools or states. Apple’s 1980′s education initiative put apples in many schools across the country but there were definitely haves and have-nots in that game.I suspect that the Trash-80 vs Apple wars came out of this idea of haves and have-nots. Unless Apple is going to subsidize an iPad for every student in the US, we will likely have this same flame ware between the Android Tablet vs Apple iPad users of this generation. This subsidization might deplete 10 percent of their 85 Billion Dollar war chest of cash. Perhaps the Ministry of Plenty will forgive them for being so generous and the Ministry of Peace will thank them for ending the perpetual wars between the haves and have-nots.
Thirdly, Apple must make it easier to publish to the Apple book store. Our suggestion that iPublish is the new publishing product that they will introduce on the 19th is not far fetched. It would definitely get the ball rolling to the point where everyone and their brother in the publishing industry would suddenly publish for Apple and no one else. Should such an app not appear on the goodie bag list, Apple could suffer for a long time in the publishing arena and it would likely make any push for the education initiative mute point. Up until now, they have always supported the larger publishers when introducing the latest products and failed miserably at getting the smaller mom-and-pop shop types on board. Apple must get them and the end consumer to the same playing field as those big guys. This failure to provide a clear path to the promised land is the reason that many of the smaller publishing companies wind up paying through the nose to some big publishing company just to reach that playing field. This is definitely the one area they need to improve upon if they really want to get ahead of the game.
Will Apple announce the iPad3? Not likely, but they may have a pre-anouncement type announcement which they will announce the initiative and then say when the iPad3 comes out, it will be available, similar to Steve Jobs famous “You don’t need an SDK” statement at WWDC 2007. We all know that changed in a hurry. With all of the parts rumors going around, it is possible that we may see the iPad3 mid year 2012.
Thus the announcement will be “We are starting an Education Initiative, we are digitizing books (already been done), and the book companies are on board (already been done).” No hardware and quite possibly, no software which would make this the biggest non-event type event Apple ever had. Oh Wait, there is one more thing….I was dreaming.
The real announcement will be “iPad3 with 256gb memory in 2 months, iPublish in 2 months, and all current major text books on iPad3, including those used by major universities in time for school year 2012-2013 to start”. One more thing…Break out the check books!