Apple’s Upcoming New York Event to Focus on Education and Textbooks

Following yesterday’s report that Apple is planning a relatively low-key media event in New York this month, more sources have weighed in on what the company has planned for its upcoming announcement.

Last night TechCrunch said that Apple’s event will focus on publishing and iBooks. Four more sources have corroborated that report this morning, and it looks like Apple is about to enter the textbook space.

Clayton Morris, a technology pundit for Fox News, has revealed some inside information from “sources involved:”

  • This event will focus on iTunes University and Apple in education
  • I learned of the event back in September when it was originally scheduled for late Fall in New York but it was eventually postponed.
  • The event will be in New York rather than in the Silicon Valley because New York is more centrally located for textbook and publishing.
  • This initiative has been in the making for years.
  • The announcement will be small in size but large in scope: a big announcement in a demure space.
  • I expect at least two large project announcements as they relate to Apple in education.
  • Steve Jobs was intinimately involved with this project before his passing. He gave a hat tip to the textbook side of this project in the Isaacson biography.
  • This will not be a hardware-related announcement.

AllThingsD also said yesterday that Apple was not planning any sort of hardware announcement in New York.

9to5Mac has a little more info on how Apple is behaving internally as the announcement approaches:

We’ve independently heard that the iTunes team is on “lockdown mode” ahead of the announcements, which have been delayed before as also reported by Morris. This affirms that whatever Apple announces will be connected to iTunes in some fashion. Keep in mind the iTunes team runs the actual iTunes Store, the App Store, and the iBookstore.

Separately, sources have told MacRumors something along the same lines as these other reports:

Adding to the speculation about textbooks perhaps playing a role in the upcoming announcement is information we’ve received from a source indicating that Apple last month filmed a series of short interviews with textbook industry executives. The interviews are said to have been of the type that would be used in one of Apple’s promotional overview videos for a new product or service.

Our source cautions us that there is no direct evidence tying the interviews to the upcoming media event and that Apple frequently films promotional video segments and commercials that never see the light of the day, but the timing of the filming seems to be in line with possible preparations for the media event.

Ars Technica has also weighed in with similar claims:

Apple has recently highlighted the ability of its iBooks platform to include sound, video, and other features by offering a free eBook of The Yellow Submarine. And based on information from our own sources, we believe the announcement could likely involve support for the EPUB 3 standard, which enables a wider variety of multimedia and interaction features. Amazon recently announced its own similarly improved eBook standard using HTML5 and CSS3.

Incidentally, one source who has worked with Apple to integrate technology in education recently suggested that Apple may have important changes coming to its iBooks platform directed specifically toward the academic set. Digital textbooks represent another nascent market that Apple could potentially upend as it did with music and mobile apps.

It definitely looks like Apple is about to take the textbook market by storm, with all signs pointing to an iTunes/iBookstore arrangement that will likely offer affordable, digital textbooks to iOS and iTunes users. Also, iBooks for Mac, anyone?