iPad 2 announcement: The book news
Apple made its iPad 2 announcement at a packed press event in San Francisco on Wednesday morning. The big news for books? First: 100 million e-books have been sold through the iBookstore since its April 2010 launch. Second: 17,000 Random House titles will now be available in the iBookstore.
The other big news? Steve Jobs was there and ran the presentation as always, wearing his classic black turtleneck. There had been speculation that Jobs would not participate in the launch event; in January, the longtime Apple chief executive took a medical leave from the company.
The Random House news was expected, as the publishing company announced Monday that it would adopt the agency pricing model for e-books. Random House, the world's largest publisher, had stuck to the traditional wholesale/retail publishing model as other publishers moved to agency pricing. To sell books in Apple's iBookstore, publishers are required to use the agency pricing model.
Saying the iPad 2 has an "all-new design," Jobs announced features that may not be unexpected but will satisfy some tech watchers. The iPad 2 is smaller and faster and has cameras on the front and back that can shoot video and a gyroscope. It will also run an upgraded operating system, iOS 4.3.
The company demonstrated two new apps that it had built for the iPad: iMovie and Garage Band. The software programs are already available for Mac desktops and laptops, which allow users to create movies and music. One criticism of the iPad was that it was a device made solely for consuming content; by launching these apps, Apple is demonstrating that it wants iPad owners to use the devices creatively.
Wouldn't it be exciting if there were a similar app for people interesting in creating e-books with and for the iPad?
Maybe next time.
The iPad 2 is one-third thinner than its predecessor and .2 pounds lighter. "The new iPad 2 is actually thinner than your iPhone 4," Jobs said. "It feels totally different."
It can be used on both AT&T and Verizon networks. And it comes in white.
The iPad 2 will ship to U.S. customers on March 11. Its price remains the same: from $499 for a 16GB version with WiFi to $829 for 64GB with both WiFi and 3G.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: Steve Jobs shows off the new iPad 2 at the product launch, March 2, 2011. Credit: Jeff Chiu / Associated Press