On 19 January, Phil Schiller, the senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, unveiled a software called iBooks 2 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Last year the textbook market was worth an estimated $8.7 billion in America alone. Xplana, a consultancy owned by MBS Direct, an electronic educational services firm, predicted that sales of eBooks would rise from 3% of the American textbook market last year to over a quarter of it by 2015.

iTunes 10.5.3 and iBooks 2.0 let students and professors use textbooks and course materials on iPads, and iBooks Author is a Mac desktop app to create books for the tablet. There are 1.5 million iPads and 20,000 educational apps currently in use in education. Notes can be added to individual pages and aggregated into virtual 3 × 5-inch note-cards for revision.

iBooks 2 is a free app, whereas textbooks themselves will cost $14.99 or less: much cheaper than traditional $80 textbooks. To ensure that there are plenty of titles on offer, Apple has struck deals with the major textbook publishers, including Pearson and McGraw Hill.