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iBooks 2.0 Now Available

Following the announcement at the media event in New York City, Apple just released a major new version of iBooks, iBooks 2.0. As we detailed in our overview, iBooks 2.0 is mainly focused on enabling textbook support - Apple has cut deals with a series of publishers to bring iBookstore-based textbooks to the United States, and iBooks 2.0 brings full support for books created through the new Mac app, also coming today, iBooks Author.

From the changelog:

  • Experience gorgeous Multi-Touch textbooks designed for iPad
  • iBooks textbooks are filled with interactive features, diagrams, photos, and videos
  • Tap to dive into images with interactive captions, rotate 3D objects, swipe through image galleries, watch videos in full screen, and more
  • Use a finger as a highlighter when swiping over text in a textbook
  • Take advantage of Study Cards to help you memorize important highlights, notes, and glossary terms
  • Tap glossary terms to see definitions of key topics and concepts without leaving the page

It doesn’t look like iBooks’ original book and PDF reading functionalities have gone through any changes in this version. Textbooks downloaded from the iBookstore are placed in the same “Books” collection as regular titles; upon downloading a textbook on iBooks 1.5, the app will ask you to update to the latest version.

From Apple’s press release on iBooks 2.0:

Education is deep in Apple’s DNA and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet. With 1.5 million iPads already in use in education institutions, including over 1,000 one-to-one deployments, iPad is rapidly being adopted by schools across the US and around the world,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Now with iBooks 2 for iPad, students have a more dynamic, engaging and truly interactive way to read and learn, using the device they already love.

At the moment of writing this, we couldn’t get our hands on a digital textbook for iBooks as it appears Apple’s iBookstore servers are reporting very slow loading times.

iBooks 2.0 is available here. We’ll update this story with more details and images as they become available.

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