More information is surfacing this morning concerning the event Apple is planning in New York City on Thursday. The event was announced last week, though rumors had been circulating about it for nearly a week at that point. According to Apple’s media invitation, the focus of the event will be on education. Now, Ars Technica is reporting that Apple is planning to unveil a tool for creating and editing e-books. Likened to GarageBand, Apple’s popular audio editing platform, this new software will allow the integration of interactive elements into e-books.
Interactive elements - video, audio, and the like - are currently possible under the ePub 2 standard with the use of HTML5 extensions, which can be found in some of the e-books currently in the iBooks store. The forthcoming ePub 3 format, however, allows for such extensions to be built into the file directly, drastically simplifying the process of including them. Citing sources within Apple, Ars Technica expects Apple to announce support for ePub 3 files in iBooks.
A “GarageBand for e-books” would be a boon to many content creators. Creating good e-books can sometimes be a tricky process. Though there are tools available that will create e-book files from PDFs, Word files, and the like, the process can be tricky and sometimes produces less than perfect results. A tool like the one Apple may be working on would be a welcome addition to the publishing world. The growing self-publication movement, where authors often do not have the means to turn their manuscripts into quality e-books, would especially benefit from such a tool.
Another major beneficiary would, of course, be the one Apple is targeting in the announcement: education. A “GarageBand for e-books” that allowed for the easy insertion of interactive elements would be allow for the creation of textbooks with audio and video elements that would explain concepts and processes to students in ways that a traditional printed textbook - or even an e-textbook with current technology - cannot do.
Of course, this is still a rumor at this point, but given what is already known about Thursday’s event, it seems likely that a GarageBand-like e-book authoring tool is what Apple will announce. We will, of course, be covering the event, which is scheduled for 10 AM Eastern time on Thursday. Check back then for more information.[Source: Ars Technica]