The launch of the iBooks 2 app further substantiates expectations that Apple may put a quad-core chipset in the iPad 3, which is expected to be launched in the first quarter of 2012.
On Jan.19, Apple announced iBooks 2 for iPad, featuring iBooks textbooks, an entirely new kind of textbook that is dynamic, engaging and truly interactive. These textbooks offer iPad users gorgeous, full-screen textbooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, unrivaled navigation and much more.
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"Education is deep in Apple's DNA and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet. With 1.5 million iPads already in use in education institutions, including over 1,000 one-to-one deployments, iPad is rapidly being adopted by schools across the US and around the world," said Philip Schiller, Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing. "Now with iBooks 2 for iPad, students have a more dynamic, engaging and truly interactive way to read and learn, using the device they already love," he added.
Apple also unveiled iBooks Author, a new and free application available on the Mac App Store that enables the creation of textbooks for iBooks 2 and publishes them to Apple's iBookstore. Apple also re-introduced its iTunes U service as a standalone app, with up to 100 complete university online courses from colleges, including Yale and Duke.
Such advanced technology and intensive interactive content requires more processing power and may force the technology giant to upgrade the iPad 3's chipset to a quad-core from the existing dual-core chip.
"Developers feel that iBooks 2 will force Apple to upgrade the A5 chipset on the next generation of iPad from current dual-‐core to quad-‐core to facilitate even richer textbook experience," Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry wrote in a note to clients.
Chowdhry, citing developers, said iBooks 2 textbook was very slow on the iPad but performed fine on the iPad 2. They feel that as interactive content on textbooks increases, the iPad 2 may also deliver slower performance speeds.
Apple's foray into digital textbooks is off to a strong start - textbook downloads and iBook Author downloads surpassed 350,000 and 90,000, respectively, in the first 3 days of its launch.
Chowdhry said Apple's decision to launch with introductory textbooks was a good one as more than 50 percent of the textbook industry's revenue comes from the sales of introductory books.
Leading education services companies, including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson, will deliver educational titles to the Apple's iBookstore, with most priced at $14.99 or less. The analyst said the converged view is that publishers will make more money on selling iBooks versus printed textbooks at $125 as cost of iBook production is 80 percent cheaper than print publications.
Meanwhile, analyst Ben Reitzes of Barclays Capital expects Apple to release two iPads during 2012. He predicts one iPad to come in March with better cameras, higher resolution display, the A5 processor and Siri and another with a faster processor and 4G LTE later this year.