Apple today showed off their new (FREE!) iBooks Author app, a new way to author ebooks (including text books). Included in that is a feature allowing you to completely embed a Keynote presentation into your ebook.
A new app that looks like Page’s long lost brother, iBooks Author is now available in the Mac App store as a free download. Along with the ability to embed HTML5, 3d models, video, photos galleries, etc Apple made a point in their demo to show off the ability to embed Keynote presentations. This makes sense if you consider that the iBooks Author is basically built on the same engine that Pages, Keynote and iWeb are based on.
One other benefit of using the same engine is that you are able to copy and paste objects (such as charts and shapes) from any of the other apps into iBooks Author. This has major benefits if you want to build a new book based off a presentation but don’t actually want to embed the presentation.
One glaring omission we’ve noticed in Apple’s new iBooks eco system…no support for reading iBooks on a regular Mac. That means students who already own a Mac laptop still have to buy an iPad. We’ll see if that changes, but it seems like a big limitation. It’s almost like Apple’s new mantra is, “Develop only on Mac, View only on an iPad”. I guess time (and students) will tell if this sticks or not.
We had also hoped that along with iBooks Author, we’d see the release of iWork ’12, but so far nothing new has been announced or released. Knowing that NEW products from Apple are still supporting iWork, it’s a good sign that the suite has NOT been shelved as some have suggested. Hopefully we’ll see a new copy of iWork this year.