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Apple targets students with iBooks 2 for iPad

File photo of an iPad. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mario Beauregard

Apple Inc. is hoping more schools will use its iPad after it unveiled software which will allow authors and publishers to ramp up educational content for the tablet.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company unveiled iBooks 2 during an event Thursday at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

“Education is deep in Apple’s DNA and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet,” said senior vice-president Philip Schiller. “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.”

IBooks 2 links to a digital catalogue with textbooks which feature interactive animation, diagrams, photos and videos. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson are among the companies publishing titles.

“IBooks textbooks can be kept up to date, don’t weigh down a backpack and never have to be returned,” Apple said in a statement, adding most books would cost $14.99 US or less.

The company also announced iBooks Author, free software available Thursday, which allows anyone with a Mac to create iBooks — including textbooks, cookbooks and picture books — and publish them to Apple’s iBookstore.

Authors drag and drop text and images and add interactive photo galleries, movies and presentations using Apple-designed templates.

The last prong to Apple’s strategy, its iTunes U app, is a collection of education apps and books —including novels from the iBookstore — meant to help teachers and students with their courses.

All three programs are available to download at the Mac App Store.