Hello everyone, and welcome to Tremors and Rumors for this week!
A lot of hot new topics have come down the wire lately. For instance, a major computer maker has released new academically-based applications. On top of that, files found in those new apps have led to new insights into a tablet that is rumored to be in development. Finally, a popular operating system for computers just had an epic release: details about a new application store! There’s always some great stories to be had towards the end of the week, so let’s get started: here’s your T&R for the week!
Apple Releases New iBooks and iTunes U(niversity), Takes Aim at Campuses (Tremor!)
Quite possibly the biggest news of the week are Apple’s new endeavors in the field of education. At an event yesterday, Apple announced a new version of iBooks, a new iBooks creation app for Mac computers and a new version of iTunes U. Here’s the quick breakdown:
iBooks 2 - This isn’t really a direct sequel to the original iBooks – in fact, it looks nearly identical – but there is one immense new addition: textbooks. Yes, you can now purchase full-size, interactive textbooks on your iOS devices. According to AllThingsD, Steve Jobs was the mastermind behind this new Apple creation, and had spoken with McGraw-Hill CEO Terry McGraw before his unfortunate passing in October of last year.
iBooks Author - This is the app that will make it all happen. The new iBooks Author app for Mac computers (available exclusively through the Mac App Store) provides publishers an easy tool to convert or create a version of their textbook usable on iPads. Books can only be sold through the iBookstore though, and only read on iOS devices at the moment.
iTunes U – This is the most intriguing of the three new apps. As a college student, I use various online applications to access course materials, book material and quizzes/lectures/audio/videos for my classes. Apple’s new idea combines all of those into a one-stop-”shop” for all of your classroom needs. The best part is that it’s free – you can access materials, class schedules, syllabi, course discussions and information all from within the new iTunes U app. Again, this is currently only available on iOS devices.
New University Apps Produce More iPad Retina Display Images (Rumors)
Of course, once you get a new app or feature for one Apple device, going through the code lets you find some information on what Apple might be doing next. The same is true about the new iBooks apps – 9to5Mac found references to 2X iPad images, which could reference a new Retina Display iPad – rumored for March release this year. Bloomberg also recently reported a new iPad that is supposedly in production for March release with LTE, Retina Display and even a new quad-core processor. Is this a new A6 processor of some sort? We’ll have to wait until March (or beyond) to find out.
Microsoft Releases Info on the New Windows Store for Windows 8 (Small Tremor, More Rumors)
A full beta version of Windows 8 is not expected until sometime in late February (something I can’t wait to play with), but Microsoft was kind enough to detail some of the first notes about it’s new Windows App Store in a post today. Of note, Apps can be purchased anywhere from the prices of $1.49 to $999 – something Adobe will most likely complain about – and the store itself is supposed to be simple, akin to Apple’s Mac App Store in OS X Lion. That being said, it looks interesting enough. Here’s a YouTube video to hold you off until February: