Apple will hold an education-related event in New York at the Guggenheim Museum. In its typical secretive style, Apple did not give any further details about the January 19 event, leaving pundits to discuss the company’s next move in the education market.
“Join us for an education announcement in the Big Apple,” the invitation read. The consensus seems to be that Apple will not be releasing any new hardware at the event (the iPad 3 is expected in the spring, in keeping with the previous product release schedule). Instead, the company is expected to make a move into the textbook market, according to unnamed sources quoted by The New York Times.
Steve Jobs’ authorized biography by Walter Isaacson was the first to hint at Apple’s plans to circumvent the state certification of textbooks by giving them away for free on iPads. The book was not very clear on how this business model would work for Apple, publishers or educational institutions, but Jobs apparently wanted to hire textbook writers to create electronic interactive versions of them for the iPad.
AllThingsD reported this month, before Apple sent out invitations for the event, that iBooks, Apple’s e-book store, will play a role in the announcement, presumably tied with iTunes U, where universities put up lectures and seminars as podcasts. Peter Kafka points out none of the big textbook publishers are working with iBooks or the iOS ecosystem, and that Apple last used the Guggenheim in February 2011 to launch The Daily.