Here’s the heartwarming clip played at Apple’s education event in NYC

With Apple’s education event now behind us, there is a lot to digest here. In addition, today has brought us three interesting software releases: “iBooks 2” and “iTunes U” apps for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, and the “iBooks Author” program for the Mac. If you missed our live coverage and have been wondering why all the fuss, a clip Apple played at the presser should get you up to speed.

Available for viewing  by clicking on the above image, the video sports both teachers and students who rave about the mess that is the United States education system and how Apple is arriving to the rescue. As always, the video is heartwarming and it is well worth the 7 minutes and 22 seconds of your time. You may also want to check out this resource on Apple’s website dedicated to iBooks Textbooks for iPad that contains many video tours.

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Liveblog: Apple’s Education event in NYC


image via the Verge

NOTE: The full coverage is right after the break.

McGraw Hill CEO Terry ..wait for it.. McGraw is in attendance.

10:00am: Schiller time! “We’re proud to help students learn”…and “Students are being introducd to the iPad”

10:03: “In general Education is in the dark ages”

10:05: 20,000 EDU apps on iPad. Many more in iBookstore

10:07: 1.5M iPads used in Education.

10:08: “Reinventing Textbooks”

10:09: How do textbooks measure up? Content amazing but portability and durability are bad.

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Apple’s textbook announcement later today, new iOS/Mac software rumored

Apple’s Education announcement is later today at the Guggenheim in New York City and we will be covering it live.  We have so far heard that it is education related and Apple’s iWork lead Roger Rosner is involved in what seems to be textbook creation and distribution tools.  Moreover, leading textbook publisher McGraw Hill will be involved, according to various reports.

Long time Apple watcher Jason O’Grady from ZDNet said he heard that some software is on tap today including Pages ’12 with support for publishing to iBookStore, an iBooks 2 app that will also work on Macs with Lion and Textbook rentals. The event’s happenings are to be announced by Eddie Cue with help from Roger Rosner.  All rumors seem plausible but uncertain.

O’Grady treats these topics as speculation on ZDNet, so it is not certain how much weight he placed in the newest claim.

Perhaps most interesting, Steve Jobs seems to have talked about Apple’s involvement in textbooks —perhaps pre-empting today’s announcement— in his official biography released late last year:

In fact Jobs had his sights set on textbooks as the next business he wanted to transform. He believed it was an $8 billion a year industry ripe for digital destruction. He was also struck by the fact that many schools, for security reasons, don’t have lockers, so kids have to lug a heavy backpack around. “The iPad would solve that,” he said. His idea was to hire great textbook writers to create digital versions, and make them a feature of the iPad. In addition, he held meetings with the major publishers, such as Pearson Education, about partnering with Apple. “The process by which states certify textbooks is corrupt,” he said. “But if we can make the textbooks free, and they come with the iPad, then they don’t have to be certified. The crappy economy at the state level will last for a decade, and we can give them an opportunity to circumvent that whole process and save money.”

Jobs had a much harsher view of the education “industry” in a 1996 interview, which we reported yesterday.

For what it is worth, our sources told us: “Don’t get your hopes up for anything consumer oriented.”

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Apple invites media for ‘education announcement’ in New York, next Thursday, Jan. 19


Invitation image via @thepeterha

As first reported by The Loop, Apple sent out invites today for a special media event held in New York City next Thursday, Jan. 19. The invitation’s graphic shows the familiar New York skyscraper motif, adorned with the Apple logo silhouette and the tagline:

Join us for an education announcement in the Big Apple.

The invite arrives following a flurry of speculation pertaining to the nature of the event, which was first hinted by AllThingsD. The publication reported on Jan. 2 that Apple’s presser will not be huge —at least not compared to the company’s splashy theatrical announcements—nor will it cover any iPad or Apple TV hardware news.

Instead, it will focus on iBooks, another report said. With education the focus, this leaves iBooks and perhaps textbooks, another market Jobs wanted to disrupt, as the main attraction. The presser is said to involve Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, whose recently expanded responsibilities now include the App Store, iTunes Store, iAd, iCloud and iBooks.

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Make your own eBooks with iWork 9.04

Apple updated its iWork suite with some bug fixes and a nifty addition today.  By far the most interesting is the ability to export into ePub format.   That means you can easily put your documents into your iBooks application on iOS devices (not that you couldn’t use PDF for the same purposes before).

We are always wary of updates before an event so we’ll see soon if there are any hidden compatibility issues addressed for new devices revealed next week.  Other updates to Pages, Numbers and Keynote include:

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Apple’s not-so-secret branding advantage


Apple’s product naming is easy to love.

Apple’s recent success in the technology market is, of course, the result of several factors. The solid hardware, the meticulously maintained and simplified software, and a fantastic retail show from the store floor to the unboxing of its products. They have a total user experience that no one has yet been able to touch.

Something that isn’t talked about much, however, is quite basic: Apple’s product naming strategy. No other company puts as much effort into distilling and simplifying their product naming.

You’ll even notice that when referring to their gadgets, Steve Jobs and other Apple employees refer to them as “iPod” or “iPhone”, not “the iPod” or “the iPhone”. Taking out the definite article anthropomorphizes these products, likening them to a friend or pet.

Because of this, it’s easy to get your head around Apple’s array of products. Just four basic product lines – Macintosh, iPod, iPhone and AppleTV – and not much else besides a few accessories, software and services that Apple sells.

For iPhone and AppleTV, that’s all you need to know. The only other classification information for these two product lines is the memory space. iPhone 8GB, 16GB. AppleTV 40/160GB. Easy.

For iPods and Macs, there are a few more variables. But nowhere will you find confusing model numbers in the product lines.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1996, he slashed everything that wasn’t profitable and moving forward, simplified the Apple lineup. Gone were the many different clones, the Power Macintosh 8500/180s, the Newton MessagePad 2100/Emate 300 and the Powerbook 1400, 2400 and 3400.

In came the PowerMac G3, the iMac, the Powerbook G3 and then later the iBook, MacPros, MacBooks and MacMini. iPods are no different: Shuffle, Nano, Classic, Touch; no numbers, just names.

Contrast this with Nokia, which sells its solid N-series phone lineup from N70 to N96. Ask all but the most hardened geek what differentiates each one and you’ll get little more than a confused expression. How about the Toshiba G900 or the Samsung F700? – both great phones with forgettable names. It’s hard to have a relationship with an anonymous number.

How about a network product from Linksys or Dlink? My NAS is a Dlink DNS-323 but it doesn’t do domain naming. I love the Linksys WRT54G router line for its hacktasticness, but it’s hard to even identify. The software I use to run it is called DD-WRT. Is that, wert?

Apple calls its wireless product Airport. It has for years. When it adds more features like a Gigabit Ethernet hub and USB hard drive support, it becomes Airport Extreme (I know “extreme” is oh so tired – but stick with me here). The smaller, portable model? Airport Express. Non-techies can get this.

Or how about PC Manufacturers like Dell, HP and Sony, which offer models like the VGN-PR2 or the XPS 420. It’s hard to endear yourself to an XPS-420 unless your name is R2-D2 or C3PO.

Certain other tech companies have had success with real names. The LG Chocolate. The Samsung Blackjack. Motorola’s RAZR, KRZR, etc. But these are the exception rather than the rule.

With the success that Apple has had with its simplified naming strategy, it is a wonder that more technology companies aren’t copying such an obvious success and persist in confusing and alienating their customers.