As Apple Inc. prepares to unveil a new digital-textbook service on Thursday, the spotlight is falling on its vice president who is leading core aspects of the new service: Roger Rosner.
According to people familiar with the matter, Mr. Rosner—Apple’s vice president for productivity applications, in charge of its iWork document, spreadsheet and presentation software—is closely involved in developing the new digital-textbook service. Apple last week said it was holding an event in New York City on Thursday for an announcement, which people familiar with it say it’s about textbook e-books.
And selling more iPads … The plans, to be unveiled by Apple Internet software chief Eddy Cue, are aimed at broadening the educational materials available for the iPad, especially for students in kindergarten to 12th grade, the people said. By setting its sights on the $10 billion-a-year textbook industry, Apple is using the tablet to encourage students to shun costly tomes that weigh down backpacks in favor of less-expensive, interactive digital books that can be updated anywhere via the Web.
We’ve already seen some rumors about what Apple has in store for its education-minded announcementin New York City tomorrow, and now Bloomberg is out with a report of its own that backs up some of those earlier rumblings and offers a few new details. Citing two people with knowledge of the announcement, it says that the main focus of the event will be a set of tools that will “make it easier to publish interactive textbooks and other digital educational content.” That not only includes tools for the big textbook publishers, but self-publishers as well — Bloomberg gives the example of teachers preparing materials for that week’s lesson, or scientists and historians who could publish professional-looking content without a publishing deal. According to Bloomberg’s sources, Apple is expected to use a modified version of the ePub standard for the content, and that it’s main focus is on the K-12 market.
Publishers hardest hit …