iBooks Comes to the Mac in OS X Mavericks

A pleasant surprise revealed in Apple’s preview of OS X Mavericks during the 2013 WWDC keynote address was the announcement of iBooks for the Mac. The lack of an iBook app for the desktop has been frustrating and frankly impedes my productivity. I love reading books on my iPad but I do most of my academic work on my 27″ iMac or Macbook Air. Having my iBooks only available on the iPad or iPhone stymied my note taking and research. I compose most of my work in Pages for Mac and have multiple documents open on my virtual desktop and physical books on my real one. Voice dictation into iOS  Notes with my iPhone lets me easily create notes from  physical books and synched to all devices I use to for work. However, I have not been able to easily move highlights and notes from iBooks between my iPad and iMac. Soon I will because iBooks is coming to the Mac and several new features are squarely aimed at the education market.


Multiple open books is a new feature coming to iBooks for the Mac.

iBooks on the Mac will have the same features as those on your iOS devices — turn pages with a swipe, zoom in on images with a pinch, or scroll from cover to cover. Notes, highlighted passages, and bookmarks created on your Mac, are pushed to all your devices automatically via iCloud.  iCloud even remembers which page you’re on. So if you start reading on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, you can pick up right where you left off on your Mac. Best of all is the ability to have multiple books open at the same time. When have you ever opened a book, then closed it before opening another to extract notes from, only to close it before moving to the next one? I doubt ever, especially not me. I’ve got multiple books spread out in from of me quite often to move back and forth through. Now I’ll be able to do the same within iBooks. Yes, iBooks in Mavericks puts multiple books on your virtual desktop just like your real one. Highlights, notes, bookmarks and other features are synched in iCloud and ready to use on any iDevice. A Notes pane gives you a list of all your notes and the highlighted text associated with them. The  ‘dynamic textbook functionality’  allows you to  convert notes into handy study cards.

Craig Federighi demonstrating note taking at WWDC 2013

 We’ve got a few more months before OS X Mavericks is released to the public. The new iBooks for Mac is a welcome upgrade that I can’t wait to start using. It will definitely increase my productivity and hopefully yours too.

All media courtesy of Apple Inc.


A next-generation digital book

In this TedTalk Mike Matas demos an amazing new interactive book.

Apple Patents Compass Bearing Feature for the iPhone Camera

One of the most challenging aspects of online learning and distance education in the geosciences is fieldwork. Access and cost of equipment is especially problematic for conducting field studies. It’s becoming easier to engage students in field activities as mobile devices with geolocation capabilities are winding up in their pockets. A new patent published by the USPTO describes a new compass bearing feature for the iPhone’s camera. An overview of the patent is provided on the Patently Apple site.

Image courtesy of Patently Apple

William Rankin, LWF Talk, London 2011

Always inspiring, William Rankin from Abilene Christian University presenting his 2011 Learning Without Frontiers talk “Dispatches from the Frontier: Next-wave mobility and the future of digital books”.

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/hdcNgp7WJgI%2Em4v%5D

Shared on Twitter this week ….

News and comment shared by The Digital Professor this week.

“BBC News – Does it pay to be a student (from the UK) in America?” http://bbc.in/fF7hrP

The 10 Biggest Myths About Synchronous Online Teaching: http://bit.ly/fEo70o

“Professors Publish Guide to Copyright Issues of Multimedia Projects – Wired Campus-The Chronicle of Higher Education” http://bit.ly/gxJo6P

“Professor’s iPhone App Gets Users Off the Beaten Path – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education” http://bit.ly/gKZct7

“Isarithmic History of the Two-Party Vote « David B. Sparks” http://bit.ly/bJcuP0

“Top Trends of 2010: Growth of eBooks & eReaders” http://rww.to/bUHHM8

“Paper or electronic? Universities consider e-textbooks | The Daily Collegian” http://bit.ly/cQXlSN

“E-Learning Brings University Education to Post-Quake Haiti” http://rww.to/dA9Rpq

iTunes U gets syncing tab in iTunes 9

itunes-logo-1I just downloaded a new and improved version of iTunes. When syncing my iPhone I notice a few new tabs, one of which is labeled “iTunes U”. This is a welcome feature to sort iTunes U content out of the podcast bin. Now you can choose to sync:

  • all from all or selected collections
  • all unplayed  iTunes U from all or selected collections,
  • 1,3,5,10 of most recent unplayed all or selected collections
  • 1,3,5,10 of least recent unplayed all or selected collections
  • all new from all or selected collections
  • 1,3,5,10 of most recent new from all or selected collections
  • 1,3,5,10 of least recent new from all or selected collections

Most of my previously downloaded iTunes U items were tagged as “Movies”. They can be changed by following these steps:

Ctl + mouse click on the item and choose “Get” Info->
Media Kind->
Then choose “iTunesU”

This will organize them under the iTunes U item in the Library.

Very handy.

Get iTunes 9 here.

CourseSmart eTextbooks come to the iPhone/iPod Touch

coursesmart_ipodThe Wall Street Journal is reporting that CourseSmart LLC has created an application to bring their textbooks to the iPhone and iPod Touch. More than 7,000 titles will be accessible for students to read a book, view their notes, and search for phrases. One can only access their books when connected to the Internet. This may be an impediment to some, but the continued build out of wireless access on campuses and in student residences will make it less of an issue over time.

This is a welcomed announcement, especially in light of Amazon’s failure to deliver a truly capable eTextbook reader and recent rumors circulating around the mythical Apple tablet. This may just be the shot in the arm for the eTextbook market. Though I have my own issues with CourseSmart’s eTextbook interface, e.g., lack of interactivity with content, if delivered on an Apple tablet this initiative will give students a unique opportunity for mobile learning. The free application is available from the iTune App store.

(Image courtesy of iTunes app store)

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