Apple has added yet another option for students to consider when buying textbooks. The iPad will bring multi-touch technology made famous by the iPhone and MacbookPro to the tablet market.
At first glance, the iPad resembles the iPod Touch in all ways except size – the iPad has an approximately 10-inch screen, much larger than the iPod Touch’s three-and-a-half inches.
Along with applications that users of the iPhone or the Mac computers will find familiar – such as iTunes and Facebook – there will be a number of new programs that will take advantage of the iPad’s increased screen size. Some of these will be games, image software and e-readers.
E-reading devices, such as Amazon.com’s Kindle, allow users to purchase, download and view books over the Internet. With the new iPad app “iBooks”, Apple is entering the e-reader world with a bang. The app works similarly to the Kindle, with a virtual bookshelf for storing books you have bought.
“If you’ve used iTunes or the App Store, you’re already familiar with [the layout of the iBookstore]” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs during the iPad’s launch event. Apple’s new iBookstore will offer titles from a long list of publishers, including Penguin, HarperCollins, and Macmillan.
“We are very excited about textbooks,” Jobs said. The iBookstore will flaunt a textbook section in addition to traditional novels and non-fiction works.
“If I can save money in the long run buying the iPad, I’ll do it,” said first-year student Harry Jacobs. “If I can get the books I need for cheaper in electronic form, then why wouldn’t I?”
The concept of cheap electronic books does not have all students enamored.
“I would have to be saving a lot of money to make it worth it,” said Margaux Dao, first-year undeclared. “I like to be able to see the words on paper, and to highlight and write in the margins.”
The full impact of the iPad will not be realized until it is released to the public in April of this year. The iPad will have a retail starting price of $499 for the basic version, and will cost up to $829 for the most advanced version.
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