Apple's Thursday event won't be a show-stopper in the usual iDevice sense, but early chatter suggests that the company may be about to revolutionize ebook creation. It could achieve this by launching a Garageband-like app to bring content-rich, Web-enabled, digital book creation tools to everyone.
Apple's next big bash at the Guggenheim Museum in New York on Thursday is all about books and education, that much has been established. But it wouldn't be Apple if there wasn't something "magical" in the air.
Based on early reports, the event won't just be a stock announcement of a collection of beautified ebooks from big names, although that will be part of the show. The new and cool stuff could come in the form of an app that will simplify the creation of ebooks for any level of user, from the big publishing houses down to niche publishers and maybe even individuals with a hankering to tell the world about their soap bar collection.
Collaborating with McGraw Hill and other publishers, Apple may be moving to or beyond the latest ePub 3 standard which makes it easier to add rich content and improve the layout of digital books. If it wraps that in an application that's as easy to use as a Garageband or the other Mac or iOS creativity tools, and that ties into the Apple iBook publishing system and iTunes, you have a quick and easy way to create all kinds of publications.
Publish and Be Delighted
We'll find out the final details on Thursday, but expect a rapid launch of the app and iPad owners to have a lot more content to suddenly consume. That's all part of the Apple plan, the more stuff there is, the more people will buy and Apple gets a cut.
Apple doesn't seem likely to enter the scary world of publishing in a big way, but by providing the right tools for others to do, it becomes a highly attractive proposition for publishers given the many millions of iPads and iPhones eagerly sucking up content. And with an iPad 3 and possible price cuts on the way, that market will only get bigger.
Even though a hardware announcement is unlikely, a U.K. bookmaker is putting decent odds on some sort of launch, odds are ebooks or textbooks at 1/6, iPad Lite at 6/1 and the iPad 3 at 9/1, a new iMac at 14/1, Apple TV at 16/1 and the iPhone 5 at 20/1.