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Apple iWork VP Roger Rosner involved in new iBooks textbook effort

post #1 of 35
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Apple's new digital textbooks initiative, scheduled for announcement at its education event this week, is reportedly being led by Roger Rosner, the company's vice president overseeing the development of its iWork productivity applications.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Rosner is "closely involved in developing the new digital-textbook service."

The report also noted that the upcoming event, scheduled for Thursday, "isn't expected to focus on textbooks that exist today, but rather around tools for building digital textbooks."

A report by Fortune earlier today downplayed the subject of the event as being a "GarageBand for ebooks," quoting a publisher who said "Apple does not want to get into the content publishing business."

Enhancing Apple's existing iBooks, iBookstore

Apple's iBookstore, operated in parallel to the iTunes Store and App Store, already offers a way for publishers to market digital textbooks that can be used on iOS devices including iPad.

Last month, Apple introduced minor improvements to its free iBooks app with the release of version 1.5. The updated software added a night reading theme, full-screen mode and new fonts.




Apple also already offers basic support in Pages 09 for creating ebooks in the EPUB format used by iBooks. However, the reported involvement of Rosner in Apple's digital textbook initiative suggests an association between the iWork tools he currently oversees, including Pages, and the development and deployment of digital texts.

The iWork group originally developed iWeb, a tool for creating simple web pages that could easily be published through the company's MobileMe web hosting service. Rather than being bundled with Pages, Numbers and Keynote in the company's iWork productivity suite, iWeb was included in its iLife suite of media apps including GarageBand and iDVD, which it shared more in common with in its user interface.

A new direction for web development

Last year, Apple started selling its iWork and iLife apps as individual titles in the new Mac App Store, rather than bundled as two suites of apps in retail boxes. The company also abandoned both iWeb and its web hosting services when it shifted to iCloud.




In addition to changing the direction of its mobile cloud services, Apple had also shifted its strategy in web development tools over the past year and a half.

At the introduction of Xcode 4 in the summer of 2010, AppleInsider projected that the company's increasingly sophisticated, graphical software development tool could portend new HTML5 development tools.

Our report specifically noted that "one example of how the company's significant investments in creating Xcode 4 could be applied is in shipping a web development tool aimed at creating HTML5 content for the web and for use within web-based tools such as Apple's iAd mobile advertising program."

iAd Producer

Six months later, Apple released a sophisticated tool for creating HTML5 content called iAd Producer. That tool is still limited to creating content intended for use with the company's iAd mobile advertising service.




It appears likely Apple's event will involve both enhancements to its iWork publishing tools and its iBook and iBookstore deployment tools for publishers, offering additional features optimized for textbooks.

Apple's event on Thursday is also expected to involve Eddy Cue, the company's vice president of Internet Software and Services, which involves oversight of iTunes, its App Store and iBookstore, as well as iAd and iCloud.
post #2 of 35
Hey Roger, never mind textbooks, how about an update to iWork. We're going into year 3 here.
post #3 of 35
Any word this presentation will be avalibe online?
post #4 of 35
When are we getting iWork '12 or iWork '13? Maybe with ODF support this time.

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post #5 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post

When are we getting iWork '12 or iWork '13? Maybe with ODF support this time.

It'll be iWork '99; Apple names by coincidence sometimes.

As for when it'll be released, Apple will first have to work out a way to make us pay again instead of getting the updates for free, since iWork is in the Mac App Store now. That'll be an interesting precedent to set. Will Apple allow other developers to charge for updates or will Apple just not charge for the next versions at all?

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post #6 of 35
Just have it as a paid update. I think there are some apps that do that. Or they could have it as a separate app, so people can have both iWork '09 and whatever the future version might be numbered.

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post #7 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

As for when it'll be released, Apple will first have to work out a way to make us pay again instead of getting the updates for free, since iWork is in the Mac App Store now. That'll be an interesting precedent to set. Will Apple allow other developers to charge for updates or will Apple just not charge for the next versions at all?

Or will Apple just charge $29 for the iWork suite to everyone, end of story?
post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post

Just have it as a paid update. I think there are some apps that do that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by urbansprawl View Post

Or will Apple just charge $29 for the iWork suite to everyone, end of story?

I didn't think Apple allowed paid updates. Hmm. Well, if that's the case, it's pretty simple; you're right.

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post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

It'll be iWork '99; Apple names by coincidence sometimes.

As for when it'll be released, Apple will first have to work out a way to make us pay again instead of getting the updates for free, since iWork is in the Mac App Store now. That'll be an interesting precedent to set. Will Apple allow other developers to charge for updates or will Apple just not charge for the next versions at all?

Oh so cynical ....
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post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Oh so cynical ....

Which part? I'm generally a pessimist because that's the easiest way to not be disappointed by Apple releases.

Originally Posted by Marvin

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Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

It'll be iWork '99; Apple names by coincidence sometimes.

As for when it'll be released, Apple will first have to work out a way to make us pay again instead of getting the updates for free, since iWork is in the Mac App Store now. That'll be an interesting precedent to set. Will Apple allow other developers to charge for updates or will Apple just not charge for the next versions at all?

I think what will be interesting is how they manage the situation if Pages can create ePub docs where are you going to save them since there is no file system on iPad. If you want to maintain compatibility between Pages for OS X and Page for iOS how do you edit and export epubs when on iOS? Perhaps iCloud but it seems awkward because ePub requires several folders to work.

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post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I think what will be interesting is how they manage the situation if Pages can create ePub docs where are you going to save them since there is no file system on iPad.

The same place they're saved now, perhaps?

Quote:
If you want to maintain compatibility between Pages for OS X and Page for iOS how do you edit and export epubs when on iOS?

In iOS, documents auto-save to iCloud as well as the device on which you're editing them already.

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post #13 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

The same place they're saved now, perhaps?



In iOS, documents auto-save to iCloud as well as the device on which you're editing them already.

I understand but the work flow is not conducive to re exporting the entire project when you only need to fix a typo. You need to be able to edit the individual files inside the compressed archive. The problem with ePub is that it is not a single file like a Pages file.

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post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

The problem with ePub is that it is not a single file like a Pages file.

Really? Because all of my ePub files are one file. If you mean there are multiple 'files' contained within an ePub file, aren't all files like that?

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post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Really? Because all of my ePub files are one file. If you mean there are multiple 'files' contained within an ePub file, aren't all files like that?

Not really. For example in an enhanced ePub you have CSS linked movies JavaScript etc. I am thinking that it needs to be a situation where you can make a minor change to a js or CSS file and then recompress like with the ePub zip apple script application does now on OS X . The last thing I want to do is open the entire project in a WYSIWYG Pages app project and re export. Then I have to re proof the entire document.

If it was like Xcode where you could open the enclosed files it would work fine but Pages is not like Xcode at all.

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post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I think what will be interesting is how they manage the situation if Pages can create ePub docs where are you going to save them since there is no file system on iPad. If you want to maintain compatibility between Pages for OS X and Page for iOS how do you edit and export epubs when on iOS? Perhaps iCloud but it seems awkward because ePub requires several folders to work.

Can we agree that the iPad is not a heavy duty creation tool? No earthly reason why Apple couldn't release a powerful e-book creation tool for the Mac.
post #17 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by scades View Post

Can we agree that the iPad is not a heavy duty creation tool? No earthly reason why Apple couldn't release a powerful iBook creation tool for the Mac.

Oh, is THAT what he was saying? I don't believe for a second there will be an ePub creator on iOS. It'll definitely be OS X only, certainly.

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post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I think what will be interesting is how they manage the situation if Pages can create ePub docs where are you going to save them since there is no file system on iPad. If you want to maintain compatibility between Pages for OS X and Page for iOS how do you edit and export epubs when on iOS? Perhaps iCloud but it seems awkward because ePub requires several folders to work.

Can we agree that the iPad is not a heavy duty creation tool? No earthly reason why Apple couldn't release a powerful e-book creation tool for the Mac.
post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by scades View Post

Can we agree that the iPad is not a heavy duty creation tool? No earthly reason why Apple couldn't release a powerful e-book creation tool for the Mac.

I think you guessed that I feel Pages is not the ideal ePub authoring environment. You would be correct.

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post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I didn't think Apple allowed paid updates. Hmm. Well, if that's the case, it's pretty simple; you're right.

They still haven't said a word about how they want developers to convert direct customers into using the App Store, and no, telling people to buy the app again is NOT the answer.

The few 3rd party apps I have are great (Coda FTW), but I don't think developers want to force people into a purchase, just leaves a bad impression with customers.
post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by CMF View Post

They still haven't said a word about how they want developers to convert direct customers into using the App Store, and no, telling people to buy the app again is NOT the answer.

They've not come up with a method of conversion for their own apps either, so I wouldn't be too worried.

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post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

They've not come up with a method of conversion for their own apps either, so I wouldn't be too worried.

This could be how they get started. iWork is seriously in need of an update at this point, do they really think people want to have 2 versions of the software on their machine? Seems like it could get messy quickly. What we really need is a proper Uninstaller (i.e, not LaunchPad), but that's a different story.
post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I think you guessed that I feel Pages is not the ideal ePub authoring environment. You would be correct.

I agree. However, at this point I'd take it.
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post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Really? Because all of my ePub files are one file. If you mean there are multiple 'files' contained within an ePub file, aren't all files like that?

An ePub is a zip file. In that sense, it's a single file. But inside is a hierarchy of files and folders. It's essentially a tiny web site with hyperlinked pages, plus several files with metadata. I wrote my own little program to take text files and massage them into ePubs. It's quite a little production. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what Apple can do to de-agonize the process.
post #25 of 35
Whatever this turns out to be, let's hope it's something that Apple will commit to continuous support and improvement, and not a pseudo-orphan like iAd, Ping, FaceTime, etc.

In spite of its legendary focus, Apple dabbles in quite a few products that it neglects in the event of less than immediate runaway success.
post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradleysm View Post

Hey Roger, never mind textbooks, how about an update to iWork. We're going into year 3 here.

My feelings exactly.

If they add this junk to Pages without doing some kind of significant update to the core software I'm going to be very upset.

How about giving us some basic control over styles for instance? How about giving us the ability to make new templates and manage styles without having to read a book on the UI machinations required to do so, or purchase templates from third parties for ridiculous sums of money? How about letting us see and edit the styles in iOS? How about some basic footnote support?

Pages for iOS is currently suffering from some terrible cursor positioning and highlighting bugs as well for that matter. The whole program is really embarrassingly unfinished.
post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

... Apple dabbles in quite a few products that it neglects in the event of less than immediate runaway success.

This.

This is clearly Apple's giant Achilles heel and they never seem to do anything about it. This tendency to completely lose focus on products worries me more than almost any other aspect of the company. Especially now that they have so many customers.

Leaving Pages to languish as they have for instance, now means inconveniencing hundreds of thousands of users for a period of years, instead of just a few keeners as in the past.

The brutal truth however (and most will not agree as they have been deftly charmed by the snake instead of the other way around), is that Apple's software has really always been only 80% there on average.

They make excellent hardware and create excellent tools for software creation. They even have a lot of cool creative folks that often make very good software (in spurts). But historically they really aren't *that* good at software overall and while they care very much about the customers that buy their hardware, they have a very poor record of supporting their customers vis a vis software.

They really do just see software as a shiny bauble to sell the hardware for the most part.
post #28 of 35
The only thing I am hoping for out of this announcement is iBooks for Mac. But it's looking like we're going to see iWeb morph in to something for creating epub files.
post #29 of 35
An Apple upgrade to iWork would be useful, and to generate ePub3 nice. But, overall, not important.

Software for publishing is complex and varied. In no way can Apple be creating an application infrastructure for textbook publishing. Now, if the stage were to include reps from various companies whose software is used for the publishing workflow, I'd say something really big was in the offing.

Whatever is going to be said tomorrow will be of some interest but not revolutionary.
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Whatever this turns out to be, let's hope it's something that Apple will commit to continuous support and improvement, and not a pseudo-orphan like iAd, Ping, FaceTime, etc.

In spite of its legendary focus, Apple dabbles in quite a few products that it neglects in the event of less than immediate runaway success.

I agree with what you're saying- but I might be clueless about FaceTime. Why is that bad? I've had no problems and it's so simple my 70 yr old dad can do it regularly.

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post #31 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

I agree with what you're saying- but I might be clueless about FaceTime. Why is that bad? I've had no problems and it's so simple my 70 yr old dad can do it regularly.

They've focused on FaceTime more than once in their ads, too. Although I personally see it a gimmick feature it surely looks successful.

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post #32 of 35
Gawddammit Steve should be there at the announcement! And the iPad3 one! ARHGHGHGHGHGHG But I guess right now he's showing Buddha how to use an iPadX I guess... *sniff*
post #33 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

This.

This is clearly Apple's giant Achilles heel and they never seem to do anything about it. This tendency to completely lose focus on products worries me more than almost any other aspect of the company. Especially now that they have so many customers.

Leaving Pages to languish as they have for instance, now means inconveniencing hundreds of thousands of users for a period of years, instead of just a few keeners as in the past.

The brutal truth however (and most will not agree as they have been deftly charmed by the snake instead of the other way around), is that Apple's software has really always been only 80% there on average.

They make excellent hardware and create excellent tools for software creation. They even have a lot of cool creative folks that often make very good software (in spurts). But historically they really aren't *that* good at software overall and while they care very much about the customers that buy their hardware, they have a very poor record of supporting their customers vis a vis software.

They really do just see software as a shiny bauble to sell the hardware for the most part.

Doesn't MS release a new WORD every 3-5 years - there's not a whole lot you can do with a word processor. I've written scores of papers, leters, a thesis, etc. on Pages and never found it lacking - what does it need to make it half-way decent?
post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

They've focused on FaceTime more than once in their ads, too. Although I personally see it a gimmick feature it surely looks successful.

I don't see it as a gimmick at all. One could just download and then open Skype (or Tango, Fring, etc.), sign up for an account, verify it through your e-mail, then make it save your password (if you can?) in the app. But why go through all that when all you need to do is call. Call via Mac iPad iPod touch or iPhone. Its great. 1 button- thats it. That's why my dad can use it. Skype would be a chore.


Quote:
Originally Posted by joelsalt View Post

Doesn't MS release a new WORD every 3-5 years - there's not a whole lot you can do with a word processor. I've written scores of papers, leters, a thesis, etc. on Pages and never found it lacking - what does it need to make it half-way decent?

I tend to agree here. A Word processor is a word processor. Tweaks are all the current Pages need. Not a completely new one. More importantly, I like Word less and less because of all the features (albeit more) that are hidden and you have to dig to find.

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post #35 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelsalt View Post

Doesn't MS release a new WORD every 3-5 years - there's not a whole lot you can do with a word processor. I've written scores of papers, leters, a thesis, etc. on Pages and never found it lacking - what does it need to make it half-way decent?

I actually just use Open Office whenever I need Word compatibility. For my own simple spreadsheets, Numbers.

For presentations, the day I go back to PowerPoint from Keynote will be indeed tragic.

The problem is also corporate culture. I cannot imagine, why to date no one has made a good enough replacement for Word documents. In the corporate world, anything that needs to be typed up is done in Word, which is like using a chainsaw to cut a cucumber.

Google Docs comes close but it requires a persistent connection from what I've used so far.

Pages would be great if it can interchange documents with Word, but then again, why would it need to.

Keynote would be great for Windows users.

MSOffice is just a bloated mess. Pivot tables I hear are the major relevant use of MSOffice, everything else, is just bloat, bloat, bloat.

In fact, for quick and easy layout with several pictures for 1 or 2 page documents, signs, brochures, etc. I find nothing beats Keynote, not even Pages.

Pages is burdened by their paragraph and style system, which, while good for extended writing, is slightly annoying for just throwing text and images wherever you want it. I find Keynote can do that well.

Numbers is good once you have the concept of "tables as objects" in a particular numbers "sheet"... Also excellent for quick layout next to your calculations.

Again, Apple is ahead of the curve, but people need to catch up and be trained appropriately.

Windows and MSOffice is a common drug, plain and simple. It's easily accessible, addictive, and no one thinks twice about using it.
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