Apple event preview: Tools to bolster in-school iPad use

Apple’s (s aapl) plans for its media event on Thursday have been the subject of considerable speculation. Now a new report released Wednesday adds a little more weight to recent suggestions that the focus will be on tools that help produce e-books and other educational materials on the iPad.
Bloomberg reports that Apple will announce tools that make publishing interactive textbooks on the iPad much easier, and also allow for the creation of other “digital education content,” according to two sources familiar with the announcement’s details. The new tools, which will be introduced by Apple’s SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, are intended to help broaden the appeal of the iPad for educational institutions, with a special focus on grades K-12, Bloomberg claims. The idea of making it easier to create educational content aimed at kids is basically what Erica described in her article on Monday.
That the announcement will have a strong educational component is backed up by a report from the Wall Street Journal (s nws) earlier this week, which said Apple had been working with textbook publisher McGraw-Hill (s mhp) on material to be revealed at the event since June.
Bloomberg’s sources also claim Apple will introduce new software that will allow a wide range of authors to publish digital e-book content, along the lines of what Amazon (s amzn) offers with its self-publishing tools. That’s in line with what a report from Ars Technica published Tuesday claims: Its sources suggested Apple would be unveiling “GarageBand for e-books.” Such a self-publishing suite is also something I suggested might be in the offing before the actual announcement was confirmed.
Apple’s event takes place Thursday beginning at 10 a.m. EST (7 a.m. PST), and we’ll have a liveblog following all the action as it unfolds.