Apple’s education event is underway at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum where the company announced the “iBooks 2″ app, a major new version designed to help integrate the iPad into school curriculum. That was Apple’s first highlight of the event — reinventing textbooks. We have been given some interesting metrics, and now Schiller unveiled “iBooks Author.” It is a new (and free!) Mac app for authoring e-books.

“Authors are going to love to use iBooks Create to create not only textbooks, but any kind of book,” said Schiller. Roger Rosner, Apple’s vice president of Productivity Software and iWork took the stage to give an interesting demonstration. Upon choosing one of the templates that ship with the program, users can begin adding their own photos, movies, text and multi-touch widgets in a fashion similar to the Pages program.

The iBooks Author reflows text dynamically, WYSIWYG-style, as you drag page elements around. It also supports Microsoft Word format, and the app is clever enough to automatically create sections and headers and lay out the pages automatically when you drop a Word document onto the chapter. Additional tidbits are available after the break.

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Apple’s Keynote file format is also supported; allowing you to drop a Keynote presentation onto your project and iBooks Author will turn it into an interactive widget. Moreover, if you happen to know your way around JavaScript and HTML, you can even code a custom widget. Other features include easy glossary creation, extended content with HTML5, and more. In addition, when your e-book is completed, you can click the Preview button and iBooks Author will take care of the rest —beaming the project to your connected iPad. Schiller concluded the iBooks Author segment of the presser and said the program is “the most advanced, most powerful and yet most fun interactive authoring tool yet created.”  Apple’s iBooks Author is a free download from the Mac App Store. The release notes are below:

Check out our full coverage of Apple’s education event and additional assets:

ARTICLE – Liveblog: Apple’s education-focuse media event in NYC
ARTICLE – Update on business metrics from Apple’s education event
ARTICLE – Apple releases iBooks 2, a brand new textbook experience for iPad
ARTICLE – Apple to price new iBook textbooks at $14.99 or less
ARTICLE – Apple announces iBooks Author, free Mac app for authoring textbooks
ARTICLE – Apple launches iTunes U, free iOS app for educators to take courses anywhere
ARTICLE – Apple releases iTunes 10.5.3 with support for textbook syncing to iPad
ARTICLEHeartwarming clip of teachers and students Apple played at the presser
ARTICLEAn overview of publishing and distribution for iBooks Author
VIDEO – Gallery of elements that can be used for interactive iBooks
VIDEOThe iBooks Textbooks promo
PR – Apple reinvents textbooks with iBooks 2 for iPad
PR – Apple unveils all-new iTunes U app for iPad, iPhone & iPod touch
SUPPORT – iBooks Author: Best practices for using 3D models
SUPPORT – iBooks Author: Use iPad-safe fonts when authoring books
SUPPORT – iBooks Author – How to make your iBooks accessible
SUPPORT – iBooks Author – Add video to your iBooks
SUPPORT – iBooks Author – Publishing and distribution FAQ
CHANGELOGiTunes 10.5.3 for Mac
CHANGELOG – iTunes 10.5.3 for Windows (64 bit)
APP STOREiBooks Textbooks section in iTunes
APP STOREiTunes U for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
APP STOREiBooks 2 for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
APP STOREiBooks Author for Mac

iBooks Author release notes

Create and publish amazing Multi-Touch books for iPad.

Now anyone can create stunning iBooks textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books, and more for iPad. All you need is an idea and a Mac. Start with one of the Apple-designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts. Add your own text and images with drag-and-drop ease. Use Multi-Touch widgets to include interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote presentations, 3D objects, and more. Preview your book on your iPad at any time. Then submit your finished work to the iBookstore with a few simple steps. And before you know it, you’re a published author.

Apple-designed templates
• Give your book a great beginning with templates that include a choice of page designs with matching fonts, colors, and textures
• Easily customize your book with text and images, create new layouts, and even save a custom template
• Use the Book Navigator to organize your book and add a cover and table of contents

Beautiful text and layouts
• Use a variety of text styles in each template to give your book a rich yet consistent look
• Add text, shapes, charts, tables, and media anywhere on the page
• Import a chapter written in Pages or Microsoft Word and apply a great-looking layout from your current template
• Add any word to the glossary with a single click and easily include photos, images, charts, tables, and shapes next to any definition
• Automatically create a portrait view of your book, which allows readers to focus on the text

Multi-Touch widgets
• Choose from a variety of widgets that add Multi-Touch interactivity to your book
• Add a photo gallery, chapter review, movie, Keynote presentation, interactive image with callouts, 3D object, or custom HTML anywhere in your book
• Widgets include placeholders for titles and captions and are automatically numbered so you can reference them in your main text
• Add accessibility descriptions to any widget so that it can be used by sight-impaired readers easily with VoiceOver

Export for iBookstore or iTunes U
• Preview your book in iBooks on an iPad to see how it looks and works
• Easily add a cover, video introduction, copyright page, dedication, and foreword
• Submit your book to the iBookstore for sale or free download with a few simple steps*
• Export your book in iBooks format to share on iTunes U or to give to others
• Create a version of your book as a PDF file

• Keynote ’09 (v5.1.1 or later) is required for Keynote widgets
• iBooks 2 is required for previewing
• iTunes 10.5.3 is required for syncing
* Books may only be sold through the iBookstore; additional terms and conditions apply.

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