Remains of the Day: Ebook learnin'
Apple’s education announcement is all over the news, with suggestions ranging from interactive textbooks to ebook publishing tools (gee, those sound familiar). Some, however, say that it’s all over-hyped—so clearly we should be looking forward to the next next Apple announcement. The remainders for Tuesday, January 17, 2012 are almost excited enough to consider going back to school. Almost.
Apple to Give a Lesson About Textbooks (Wall Street Journal)
As with the week leading up to any Apple event, speculation is rife about what the company will announce. The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) says Apple will roll out interactive textbooks along with partnership deals with major publishers like McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Also, the company is expected to release a themed Smart Cover made out of a brown paper bag.
Along the same lines, Ars Technica says that Apple plans to “digitally destroy” textbook publishing with its new initiative, which will include GarageBand-style tools for creating ebooks. I think perhaps I’m most looking forward to the great stompbox effects for microeconomics and organic chemistry.
But there’s always a killjoy, isn’t there? Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt says that the event is “seriously over-hyped,” pointing specifically to the Ars Technica article, which he says “got it wrong.” Apple’s not interested in destroying the current textbook industry, but in working with the companies behind it in a harmonious fashion. Just ask the music industry! Wait. Bad example.
Despite the looming event in New York City, it’s never too soon to talk about the next Apple announcement. Japanese site Macotakara is saying that an Apple event will be held in February to launch the iPad 3 and iOS 5.1. We just need to wait for Tim Cook to finish personally assembling and coding them, as he does all of Apple’s products.
But I kid! There are other Apple employees, of course. Like senior vice president of iOS software Scott Forstall, who—according to a profile in a soon-to-be-released book by Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky—has his eyes on the company’s CEO spot. Sadly, he’s not eligible: Unlike the company’s current and previous chief executives, his name is not a noun, but merely a verb with a typo.
Even Woz Thinks the Android Bests the iPhone (The Daily Beast)
Segway Polo grand master Steve Wozniak says there are ways in which Android has—heavens!—leapt ahead of the iPhone, like built-in turn-by-turn GPS and better voice commands. In particular, he prefers his Motorola Droid RAZR over his Galaxy Nexus; but the iPhone still takes the crown, Woz says, for its simplicity. Geez, he must have a Batman-utility-belt full of phones at this point.
Missouri Couple Helps Save Aussie Man’s Life Via “Words with Friends” (OzarksFirst.com)
Words with Friends saved some friends recently when a Missouri woman playing the word game mentioned to her husband, a doctor, that the husband of her online competitor—all the way across the world in Australia—was feeling unwell. The doctor realized that the Australian man’s condition was life-threatening, and insisted that he go immediately to the hospital—an action that saved the man’s life. Look for your own chance to get in on the excitement later this year, when Zynga unveils its newest game: Diagnoses with Friends.
Screen Ruler 2.0 - Sprightly Software's utility is a set of tools for working with on-screen graphics. The Box Measurement Tool provides the exact pixel width and height of an area. The Line Measurement Tool measures the length between two pixels. The Color Picker provides data for hex colors. The Grab Image Tool is a screenshot tool. The new version 2.0 provides menu bar access, better implementation on multiple displays, and more. $10.
NoteStar for iPad 1.0 - Yamaha has released NoteStar, a digital sheet music app for the iPad. Purchase sheet music from Yamaha’s in-app store and play along with hands-free page turning, mixing tools, audio backing tracks, and options for transposition and tempo changes. Free; $4 for each piece of sheet music.