Tim Cook sends congratulatory email, plans to ‘discuss some exciting new things going on at Apple’ at Town Hall tomorrow

Following today’s blowout numbers, we just received word that Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a short email to Apple employees congratulating them both on a record setting holiday quarter and starting 2012 with the launch of a groundbreaking initiative for education with iBooks 2 and iPad textbooks.

Perhaps most enticing, Cook told everyone to report to Town Hall tomorrow either in person or through their AppleWeb online portal at 10 a.m. PT to discuss “some exciting new things going on at Apple.” Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs typically held such meetings following major product launches like the iPad and iPhone.

Cook’s last all hands email was sent just one week ago and discussed Apple’s supplier responsibility report.

Today’s email from Cook is pasted below:

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Apple launches iTunes U, free iOS app for educators to take courses anywhere

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Apple’s education event is underway at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum, where Eddy Cue, the company’s vice president of Internet Software and Services, told the audience how Apple is “going to help teachers reinvent the curriculum.” Noting that Apple has seen 700 million downloads from iTunes U, Cue took the wraps off a brand new free software for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Aptly named iTunes U, the app makes it “simple for anyone to take courses anywhere.”

Indeed, adorned with the beautiful mahogany bookshelf graphics, the app is akin to iBooks in many respects. It is aimed at teachers and supports many interesting features, including the ability to customize topics, provide students with office hours, post messages to the class and give assignments. With this app, content can be downloaded for later consumption or streamed directly to students on-demand. More information is available after the break and at Apple’s freshly updated web site.

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Apple announces iBooks Author, a free Mac app for authoring interactive e-books

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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iPad already has 20,000 education and learning apps, says Apple


Image courtesy of AllThingsD

Apple’s education event is underway at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum, where Phil Schiller, the company’s vice president of worldwide marketing, provided an update on key metrics related to Apple’s education business. Remarking that the United States “is not at the top of industrialized nations,” Schiller said: “If you’re a freshman, you only have a 70 percent chance of graduating.”

After playing a video that outlined the problem with U.S. education today, Schiller said “no one person or company” could fix it all. Apple, of course, will try. The basis for such an ambitious undertaking, of course, is the iPad, which Schiller said was No. 1 on kids wish lists this holiday season. The goal is to help integrate the iPad into the curriculum.

However, the iPad is already strong in education. Here are some interesting metrics:

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AAPL reaches all-time high of $429 a share, market cap closes in on $400B

With an announcement tomorrow in New York City and an earnings call on Jan. 24, Apple Inc., has reached an all-time high of $429.47 per share on today’s market, and it closed at $429.11. Being up more than four points today, Apple is continuing to close in on a $400B market cap and sits at just $398.70B at closing.

Apple is expected to have had a record breaking Q1, which will be reported in an earnings call with CEO Tim Cook on Jan. 24. With the help of holiday sales, some analysts predict Apple sold 5 million Macs and around 30 million iPhones.

Tomorrow’s media event in New York City also added to today’s stock frenzy. Apple is expected to make a major announcement in the textbook industry. There have been many reports that Apple made the necessary partnerships with publishers, and may even launch its own textbook creation tool — which Ars Technica called a “GarageBand for e-books.” Apple teased the event as an education announcement. Per usual, 9to5Mac will be covering both events. Tomorrow’s event begins at 10 a.m., so stick with us for coverage. Any final predictions?

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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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