Yesterday evening, Ars Technica published a scoop regarding Apple's education event scheduled to occur in New York City this Thursday. Chris Foreman writes:
While speculation has so far centered on digital textbooks, sources close to the matter have confirmed to Ars that Apple will announce tools to help create interactive e-books—the "GarageBand for e-books," so to speak—and expand its current platform to distribute them to iPhone and iPad users.
Garageband is, of course, a much lauded member of Apple's iLife package, and a fairly recent addition to Apple's own iOS app catalog. Touted as a means for individuals and groups to easily produce their own music, Apple struck a chord with amateur musicians in favor of its simplistic user interface and experience.
If Apple is able to replicate the simplicity of Garageband in a piece of software for e-books, it would certainly make for a compelling reason to move away from paper for many publishers.
The ePub format, as it stands, is incapable of truly complex and compelling interactions. The alternative to this lies in native app development (and to a lesser extent in web apps), but for many publishers, this is not a feasible or sustainable option.
If Apple were to take advantage of this discrepancy, roping publishers into its own ecosystem, it would likely be a beneficial arrangement for both publishers and students in the long run.