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Apple Media Event: iPad 3 / Publishing Upgrades?


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Apple Media Event: iPad 3 / Publishing Upgrades?
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Moogs
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2012-01-04, 14:22

Sa-weeeet. Would love some high res iPad with full support for ePub 3 layout, etc to arrive this month. Timing would be perfect for me.

http://www.macrumors.com/2012/01/03/...and-education/

...into the light of a dark black night.
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Yontsey
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2012-01-04, 14:41

I would really like to see Apple hit Newsstand harder. It's a pretty weak area for the iPad that could really take off if done properly. I've been craving newspapers and magazines but the selection is weak. I suppose it could be because of the publishers themselves though, so Apple can't be completely to blame.

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Robo
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2012-01-04, 15:35

Er, where are the rumors of this being the iPad 3 event? Pretty much everybody seems to be saying it's going to be about textbooks and iTunes U, with no new hardware.

I don't doubt that we'll see a Retina Display iPad in the first half of this year, but it sounds like it isn't coming this month.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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screensaver400
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2012-01-04, 15:45

The only way for eTextbooks to be successful is if they cost less than used books at a college bookstore... Say, $19.99-$39.99 for books that are $70-$120 new and $40-$80 used.

eTextbooks can't be resold, so they are inherently less valuable. If you figure the average textbook is resold 3 or 4 times, the publisher will come out about even. College bookstores will be pissed, though.
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Yontsey
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2012-01-04, 15:52

eTextbooks would've been a dream in college. Just carrying an iPad and bookmarking and making notes compared to carrying around multiple, useless books would've made my back smile a bit more. Would've made it easier to get away with surfing the web and playing games in class too.

Die young and save yourself....
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chucker
 
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2012-01-04, 16:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
Er, where are the rumors of this being the iPad 3 event?
*points*
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Robo
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2012-01-04, 16:04

Quote:
Originally Posted by screensaver400 View Post
The only way for eTextbooks to be successful is if they cost less than used books at a college bookstore... Say, $19.99-$39.99 for books that are $70-$120 new and $40-$80 used.
I wouldn't say that's the only way for them to be successful.

My sister literally has to take a giant rolling suitcase to school for all her huge medical textbooks. So that's a factor.

Also, anyone who played around with Push Pop's Our Choice should be able to easily envision the possibilities for more dynamic textbooks. In-line video, adjustable charts, 3D diagrams...it'd be amazing. And a lot of print textbooks come with either CDs (ew!) or codes to access a website with study aids, quizzes, &c. All that stuff could be built into an e-text — it could be the textbook, the workbook, and the overachiever-y website all in one.

At the very least, I don't think e-texts would have to be half the price of the used text to stand a chance (and I'm not expecting them to be). Sure, you can't trade in an ebook, but I don't think most students are thinking about trading in their textbooks when they buy them. In my experience, most students treated their textbook trade-ins as bonus beer money — it wasn't something they built into their financial plan from the start of the term, or anything.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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Robo
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2012-01-04, 16:12

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
I...I never knew it was so easy to start a rumor! I didn't know you could do that.

Let me try. Hey guys, I wouldn't buy a new television before this little media event deal. Just sayin'. WINK WINK.


and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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Moogs
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2012-01-05, 10:25

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
Er, where are the rumors of this being the iPad 3 event?
That's partly my assumption / interpretation. Ars is talking about ePub 3 support being a big element of the event, which isn't really relevant to anything other than iPad display technology. So it would dovetail nicely with an iPad 3 announcement (even if that iPad won't ship until 6 weeks later or whatever). I suppose you could argue that they will add ePub 3 support to all existing iPads (thereby making said announcement relevant to existing users), but that takes a selling point away from upgrading to a new device.

Technically it would be better if they did offer support across the entire line but I suspect they won't do it that way.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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zippy
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2012-01-05, 11:16

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
I wouldn't say that's the only way for them to be successful.

My sister literally has to take a giant rolling suitcase to school for all her huge medical textbooks. So that's a factor.

Also, anyone who played around with Push Pop's Our Choice should be able to easily envision the possibilities for more dynamic textbooks. In-line video, adjustable charts, 3D diagrams...it'd be amazing. And a lot of print textbooks come with either CDs (ew!) or codes to access a website with study aids, quizzes, &c. All that stuff could be built into an e-text — it could be the textbook, the workbook, and the overachiever-y website all in one.

At the very least, I don't think e-texts would have to be half the price of the used text to stand a chance (and I'm not expecting them to be). Sure, you can't trade in an ebook, but I don't think most students are thinking about trading in their textbooks when they buy them. In my experience, most students treated their textbook trade-ins as bonus beer money — it wasn't something they built into their financial plan from the start of the term, or anything.
+1

I am excited about the future of digital textbooks, and not just because they will be lighter and easier to carry. Just imagine a textbook where all those static images/charts/examples can be both animated and interactive. Replacing static photos with videos where applicable or beneficial; Using animated images to show things like plate tectonics/cell growth/application of force/energy concepts/equation solving/and on and on; Allowing students to practice equation solving on the device, or to ask for additional examples; Using audio snippets where applicable (especially for vision impaired individuals).

You could almost argue that digital textbooks would be so much better than paper textbooks, that they could actually be more valuable/cost more. I sincerely hope that doesn't happen though. The whole pricing/purchasing/ecosystem is probably the more complicated part of the whole movement. For instance, right now, schools (thinking about K-12 here) buy a text book and keep it for a number of years. During that time, they might buy a few more copies here or there, but for the most part, it seems like textbook purchases happen in big, infrequent cycles. With digital textbooks, they could go to more of a subscription model with an initial buy-in, followed by a yearly subscription for updates.

And I think there's a way to solve the used text issue as well - as long as the publishing industry is up for helping to find a solution. They should be. I think it's in their long term interest to facilitate something that is simple and reasonable enough for people to make pirating less desirable.

Do you know where children get all of their energy? - They suck it right out of their parents!
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ezkcdude
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2012-01-05, 11:59

I bought a Kindle textbook on calculus last year, and it's annoying that I can only read it on the desktop. I'd love to be able to read it on my iPad. I hope they make that possible.
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Capella
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2012-01-05, 12:01

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezkcdude View Post
I bought a Kindle textbook on calculus last year, and it's annoying that I can only read it on the desktop. I'd love to be able to read it on my iPad. I hope they make that possible.
It doesn't load in the Kindle app for iOS?
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Yontsey
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2012-01-05, 12:04

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capella View Post
It doesn't load in the Kindle app for iOS?
Might be tied to Kindle specific products like some of the newspapers and such.
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ezkcdude
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2012-01-05, 12:32

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capella View Post
It doesn't load in the Kindle app for iOS?
Nope, you can only read it on the desktop (as I said).

EDIT: Apparently, they have changed it within the last couple months. So now you can download it on the Kindle app, but first you have to delete it from the desktop.
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Capella
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2012-01-05, 14:59

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yontsey View Post
Might be tied to Kindle specific products like some of the newspapers and such.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ezkcdude View Post
Nope, you can only read it on the desktop (as I said).

EDIT: Apparently, they have changed it within the last couple months. So now you can download it on the Kindle app, but first you have to delete it from the desktop.
That is really weird. I've never bought a product from that store that ties me into only using it on a certain subset of device; I thought the whole advantage of buying from Amazon would be to be able to view it on a variety of devices :/ I'm glad they don't do that with plain old novels.

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Mugge
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2012-01-05, 15:25

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yontsey View Post
eTextbooks would've been a dream in college. Just carrying an iPad and bookmarking and making notes compared to carrying around multiple, useless books would've made my back smile a bit more. Would've made it easier to get away with surfing the web and playing games in class too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
I wouldn't say that's the only way for them to be successful.

My sister literally has to take a giant rolling suitcase to school for all her huge medical textbooks. So that's a factor.

(...)
+me

Considering how many text books come in phone book size I'd say this is a no brainer. Though, price might not be unimportant. I remember many fellow students who would take already large textbooks to a copy shop and get some even bigger (A4) pirate books back just to save the price of a used text book. So some students are definitely willing to suffer physically to save a buck financially.
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screensaver400
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2012-01-05, 17:32

This article seems relevant:

Quote:
Perhaps the most surprising finding was the $1-dollar difference, which one course’s students encountered during three of the four semesters. The study’s authors attributed those slim savings to “publisher pricing decisions.” Making matters worse, the students renting e-textbooks could not sell the materials back to the campus bookstore when the semester ended. (In the second course surveyed, student savings were more significant, sometimes surpassing $40 per student.)
http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcamp...s-only-1/34793

Sounds to me like a market begging for disruption.
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Moogs
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2012-01-06, 12:06

The college textbook and buy-back market is an absolute scam.

If Apple does anything to make collegiate learning better, it should be not only with better technology for learning (iPad, ePub, etc) but by taking the power out of the hands of huge companies like Wiley and Pearson, and distributing it so that those companies have to COMPETE for a change. Give them half a chance to ruin the iPad textbook market, they'll do that too, adding all kinds of restrictions, keeping prices artificially high, etc.

Apple needs to control the game here and force them to "play nice" for the benefit of students (who are already being financially raped by most universities and college loan companies).

...into the light of a dark black night.
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Chinney
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2012-01-06, 14:33

All that being said, I can certainly see an advantage from the sheer weight perspective of moving to an all e-book approach for textbooks.

Even for my kids' high school courses, the weight of their backpacks astounds me, and is unhealthy on their backs. At high school, the individual schools are supplying the texts in any event. Why don't schools just invest in some cheap e-readers and hand them out to students (on loan, maybe with a deposit) with the e-versions of the texts downloaded on to them? I would think that the costs would be less than handing out the textbooks. While some e-readers would go missing, so do some textbooks, and given that those texts are not cheap, I would imagine that the total underlying financial risk would probably be less (and essentially neglibible if a deposit is required). And for students who already have tablets, just provide a link and code for them to get the texts on an appropriate reading app.

Problem solved (at the high school level, anyway), if you can get the publishers to play along.

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
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Moogs
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2012-01-06, 17:50

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinney View Post
All that being said, I can certainly see an advantage from the sheer weight perspective of moving to an all e-book approach for textbooks.

Even for my kids' high school courses, the weight of their backpacks astounds me, and is unhealthy on their backs.

Yah this is a pretty common thing now. It's nuts. I'm sure conspiracy theorists could find connections between the pharmaceutical industry and text book companies, creating a generation of gimpy, sore-backed kids.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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JohnnyTheA
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2012-01-06, 18:51

Here is the textbook that I adopted for my night programming class I teach:

http://www.amazon.com/Java-Introduction-Problem-Solving-Programming/dp/0132162709/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1325891724&sr=8-2

List Price: $115 (a lot!)
Amazon Price: $89.83 (with free shipping)
Amazon used Price: $79.94
Amazon sell-back price: $64.49 (in amazon credit towards another purchase)

Here is the "publisher's" eTextbook:

http://www.mypearsonstore.com/bookst...sbn=0132162709

You can buy from them for $115 (also with free shipping)
Or you can buy their "unbound" format for $74.75
OR, you rent the eTextbook for $45.99 for 180 days.

Rent. They don't make it clear but that is what the CourseSmart eTextbook is.

What do you guys think? Is this form of eTextbook a good deal.

The prices of textbooks are always higher (like double) than books you find at Barnes and Noble because there are only a couple publishers and you HAVE to buy textbooks where Barnes and Noble books are almost always elective purchases with LOTS of different publishers. They will say that textbooks have low volume and printing cost are high..... Well that is the same for a wood carving book you could find at B&N with the same number of pages for less than half the cost of the book I adopted. A LOT more people are going to buy the average college textbook than a wood carving book.

I suppose Apple could make some deal with the one or two college textbook publishers for iBooks, but I think it would be better to have them start their own publishing company. They basically already have this with iBooks but you don't find a lot of textbooks (yet) in iBooks. If Apple could find a way to cut straight to the professors who write the books and compete with the big boys with iBooks that DON'T expire, that would be better for students and education in general.

JTA
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screensaver400
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2012-01-06, 20:40

I hope Apple does something great, but I fear it will end up like the iTunes tv show and movie store. Sales are decent, but its not the game changer that the iTunes Music Store was. The prices for TV shows and movies are almost always full retail, when you can buy a physical copy for far less.

As for that Java programming book... The net price for students when buying and selling from Amazon can be as low as $10, but there's some risk involved. Amazon's buyback offer could change.

If you could "buy" (that is, you keep it forever, but it will really only be used for a semester, so for the publishers it's more like renting it since it can't be resold) for $19.99 or $29.99 from iBooks, it would probably be better for both students and publishers. A bit more expensive for students, but lower risk, and the get to keep the content forever for infrequent reference. Plus you get all the advantages of eBooks--less weight and volume for students, lower production, shipping and warehousing costs for publishers.

Again, Amazon (at least the physical book division) and college bookstores won't be happy, but neither was Virgin Megastore.
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Chinney
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2012-01-08, 19:54

As for the subject of Apple announcements/developments generally, has anyone else found it unusually quiet over the last few months? My impression is that there have been fewer app and OS updates, much less product announcements. Certainly this must be a period of adjustment for Apple. I do wonder a bit about their future direction though.

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
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Robo
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2012-01-08, 20:30

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinney View Post
As for the subject of Apple announcements/developments generally, has anyone else found it unusually quiet over the last few months? My impression is that there have been fewer app and OS updates, much less product announcements. Certainly this must be a period of adjustment for Apple. I do wonder a bit about their future direction though.
2011 did have an unusually low number of "redesigned" products: One.

Hopefully that means we're in for a jam-packed 2012
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El Gallo
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2012-01-08, 23:28

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyTheA View Post
Here is the textbook that I adopted for my night programming class I teach:

http://www.amazon.com/Java-Introduction-Problem-Solving-Programming/dp/0132162709/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1325891724&sr=8-2

List Price: $115 (a lot!)
Amazon Price: $89.83 (with free shipping)
Amazon used Price: $79.94
Amazon sell-back price: $64.49 (in amazon credit towards another purchase).......

What do you guys think? Is this form of eTextbook a good deal.

The prices of textbooks are always higher (like double) than books you find at Barnes and Noble because there are only a couple publishers and you HAVE to buy textbooks where Barnes and Noble books are almost always elective purchases with LOTS of different publishers. They will say that textbooks have low volume and printing cost are high..... Well that is the same for a wood carving book you could find at B&N with the same number of pages for less than half the cost of the book I adopted. A LOT more people are going to buy the average college textbook than a wood carving book.
JTA
To end up basically renting the eTextbook for $15-25 doesn't sound terrible at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by screensaver400 View Post
I hope Apple does something great, but I fear it will end up like the iTunes tv show and movie store. Sales are decent, but its not the game changer that the iTunes Music Store was. The prices for TV shows and movies are almost always full retail, when you can buy a physical copy for far less.

As for that Java programming book... The net price for students when buying and selling from Amazon can be as low as $10, but there's some risk involved. Amazon's buyback offer could change.

If you could "buy" (that is, you keep it forever, but it will really only be used for a semester, so for the publishers it's more like renting it since it can't be resold) for $19.99 or $29.99 from iBooks, it would probably be better for both students and publishers. A bit more expensive for students, but lower risk, and the get to keep the content forever for infrequent reference. Plus you get all the advantages of eBooks--less weight and volume for students, lower production, shipping and warehousing costs for publishers.

Again, Amazon (at least the physical book division) and college bookstores won't be happy, but neither was Virgin Megastore.
The thing I really fear is it just doesn't seem like Apple seems to get the cloud well. When they were the clear underdog with the iPod and iPhone they made some "play nice" concessions that they have since given up on. It is really stagnating their progress and mindshare in my opinion.

Three people out there really have my credit card info for their various "eco-systems", Apple, Google and Amazon. I'd love to be given Apple my money for iBooks but they just haven't done what they ought to with it. Why can't I read the books on my Mac laptop as well? Apple's solution used to be comprehensive and now it is becoming piecemeal. Pages exists on iPad/iPhone and the desktop. iBooks does not. Meanwhile I can read my Kindle purchases on a stand alone Kindle device, my iPhone, my Mac, in any web browser, etc.

I can see both the Google and Amazon eco-systems working better and harder over the long run. Apple still has better solutions but we've seen the iPhone 4s, and other than that iPods are stagnant, Macs are incremental improvements and the software everywhere seems to be getting worse. What was the last real software hit that Apple had? FCP was hated as an example.
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screensaver400
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2012-01-09, 17:05

Pages exists on all three platforms (if you count iPad separately), but the integration is poor. iPhone and iPad integrate beautifully through iCloud, but they don't work well with the Mac version even on Lion (which already mirrors iCloud iWork documents behind the scenes).

There should eventually be a Mac version of iWork that integrates with iCloud, just as there should eventually be a Mac iBooks. Both should already be available.
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greyhound
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2012-01-13, 09:01

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinney View Post
As for the subject of Apple announcements/developments generally, has anyone else found it unusually quiet over the last few months? My impression is that there have been fewer app and OS updates, much less product announcements. Certainly this must be a period of adjustment for Apple. I do wonder a bit about their future direction though.
Maybe they are just working on the next big thing. Noone knows except a few guys at Apple.

On-topic: Real nice textbook support would be awesome, I would think about buying an iPad at this time as well.

I don'T really think there is going to be a a new iPad at this event, the title just doesn'T suggest it at all, but it would make sense, at least kind of.
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torifile
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2012-01-18, 22:33

So I don't strain my shoulder patting myself on the back...

It's going to be sweet. I would be unsurprised to hear if Push Pop Press were acquired by Apple.

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drewprops
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2012-01-18, 23:01

This past summer I wrote a technical manual for the rPlank™ (available on Amazon!) and designed the file in InDesign CS5.5 so that it could be printed traditionally, with nice page layout, as well as generated into an ePub document that passed inspection for publishing on Apple's iBookstore. It was QUITE a chore and required me to learn a LOT of special techniques.

If Apple simplifies the process for everyday people it will be nice. During the time I was laying the book out I became VERY disappointed with how little effort Adobe seemed to be putting toward the move to ePub publishing. You had to tickle Google to cough up links to half-baked articles (from Adobe!) that kind of, sort of, got you near the answer, but made sure not to quite give it to you.

Frustrating.

I do NOT intend on moving away from the professional layout software that I use, but it would be nice to see Apple move the ball a little further down the field.



...

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Moogs
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2012-01-18, 23:40

My uh... random prediction *cough* is that both Apple and Adobe will have done some useful things for moving ePub workflows forward in 2012. However I'm very anxious to see what Apple releases tomorrow because it may set the benchmark and cause a big ripple effect that ends up benefitting consumers. Hopefully it's an iWork update with a nice new iPublish app or something like that with powerful but intuitive layout controls, and the iPad itself starts being a little more type-savvy and stuff like that in addition to ePub 3 support which seems like a foregone conclusion now (almost).

What would suck tremendously bad is if they locked any important feature here into iPad 3 only and future models. Hopefully all iPads are easily updated to accept more powerful versions of iBooks in terms of what they can render and such. Should work just like web browsers AFAICT. Update the engine and anyone who can run the browser benefits.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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