With iBooks 2, Apple is reaching out directly into the classroom, providing a platform for interactive textbooks. While retaining features of the popular e-reader, textbooks are made to come to life, with interactive 3D diagrams, and videos designed to enhance the learning experience.

Text can be highlighted in a choice of colors with the swipe of a finger, allowing important information to stand out.

Credit: Apple iBooks

Study cards provide a useful revision tool, helping you to memorize all the important information for upcoming exams.

Credit: Apple iBooks

Currently, the iBookstore offers textbooks on Algebra, Biology, Chemistry, Geometry, and Physics from McGraw-Hill and Pearson. Textbooks from DK and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are also in the pipeline.

The Verge recently tested out Pearson’s: ‘Life on Earth’ Biology interactive textbook, and had the following to say:

“it runs extremely well even on the original iPad we tested it on. Movies load quickly, page turns are smooth, and embedded animations work without a hitch. Images are particularly engaging, as most go full-screen with a tap, and also contain a number of other related images to swipe through as well.”

The tech website Gizmodo has a full run down of the product in their: ‘Apple’s new text books 101’, which highlights the following benefits:

“Apple’s new iBooks are as impressive as they said in the presentation. They are beautifully crafted. Their use of videos, timelines, animations, embedded presentations, integrated review questions and quizzes and their highlighting and study card system are extremely good. They work and they are enjoyable.”

They do however consider the cost impact of this for schools at a national scale in their article: ‘You Can’t Afford Apple’s Education Revolution’, which states:

“All of this represents the best kind of progress, a paradigm shift in education. That is, if you can afford it;” “But let’s remember that right now, today? It’s entirely out of reach for all but a few of us.”

Overall IBooks 2 looks to provide a great learning resource, which in combination with the recently released iBooks Author shows what the future of education could look like. With iBooks 2 it looks like the weight will be taken off quite a few students, or at least out of their rucksack.