Following Apple's announcements earlier today, Brian Lam has posted a fascinating story over at The Wirecutter regarding the origin of Apple's new textbook initiative. In short, back in 2008, a former Apple intern, Joseph Peters, introduced an early concept for Apple's implementation of the textbook for an internal competition, iContest.
Peters is careful not to attribute Apple's new textbook initiative to himself, but today's announcements certainly suggest that his presentation might have had a profound and lasting impact upon the Apple executive team. In the interview, Peters says:
Well the original idea came from my frustration with how much Textbooks were and I did some research about the market which showed that prices were artificially inflated because publishers were losing revenue from the resale of used textbooks.
Peters' original presentation even included mockups of iTunes and iOS allowing for the perusal of textbooks.
Whether or not Apple's current implementation is based upon Mr. Peters' concept or not, it is certainly intriguing to consider the potential that an enormous company like Apple embraced the ideas of the youth. Indeed, Lam writes:
This seems like a smart thing for an enormous company to do when they're trying to keep start-up values. It's a neat little hack to the innovator's dilemma. Also, the idea only cost them a few Macbook Airs.
Check out the interview in its entirety at The Wirecutter (a fantastic site worth bookmarking if you haven't already).