iBooks Author and iBooks 2 for iPad

Apple announced their new iBooks 2 for iPad and iBooks Author applications this morning.  During a portion of the presentation, they indicated a new book could be created and previewed on an iPad in a few minutes.

So I decided to take it for a quick test drive and see if it was really that easy.

About five minutes to download the Mac desktop app iBooks Author and update my iPad to the new iBooks 2 version.

About five more minutes of poking around in the menus of the new iBooks Author app to:

  • create a new document, give it a title, and use the inspector to set the Author attribute.
  • add a couple chapters and edit their them titles.
  • import some photos, use the inspector to adjust placement and text wrapping.
  • plug the iPad in via USB cable, and select the iPad “Preview” icon in the iBooks Author menu.
  • review the new iBook on the iPad.

Ok, so I didn’t take time to add a lot of custom content.  But overall it was as easy as  working with Keynote and Pages.  Many of the menu controls and inspector features are the same.  iBooks Author has numerous options for inserting media, tables, keynotes, and other objects.  You can choose to create a new chapter, section, or page by inserting an existing document and select from a variety of layout options.

So yes, you really can get started and create a simple iBook in five to ten minutes.  If you have some existing content with fairly simple structures, it should be quite easy to convert to an iBook.  Adding a new chapter, inserting an existing Pages document, and inserting some quiz questions was also very fast and only required pressing “Preview” again to update the iBook on the iPad.

I’ll try out some of the media and interactivity features as soon as I have some more time. If you are looking for these features, the “Widgets” icon on the menu bar is the fountain of interactivity.  The “Review” widget is the place to look if you’d like to create a quiz sheet within your iBook.

iPad documentation and user guides

Note:  When the new iOS 4.2 operating systems is released (and the subsequent wave of application and accessory updates follows) some of the features and UI (user-interface) patterns will change.

Each iPad came with a small white packet.  That packet contains a couple stickers, a sim removal tool, and a standard FCC type product pamphlet.  It also contains a 3×5 type card with a photo of the device.  The front of that card points out the physical controls; the back of that card lists the initial 4 steps needed to get started as well as the URLs for more information.

If you install the free iBooks application, there is an available iPad User Guide (free from the bookstore).  It’s a 309 page e-book, and fully searchable.  Also, the iBook application includes the ability to set bookmarks.  This would be the best solution for the TSD folks to set up, as it would ensure the users always have a complete reference guide available with the device regardless of their connectivity situation.

Apple’s website has video guides to all of the features:  http://www.apple.com/ipad/guided-tours/

There’s also a more “traditional” type user guide in the form of a 19MB, 154 page PDF.  This PDF can be loaded into the iBooks application’s “library” (printing it out would kinda defeat the purpose of having a technology like the iPad).

The Apple iPad Enterprise Deployment Guide might be of interest to the IT folk, probably not so much for the users.  It is a 1MB, 90 page PDF.  In our organization, most of what is covered in this document is being done via the centralized McAfee EMM (formerly Trust Digital) platform.  While this document would provide an overview of what iPad features can be managed, the IT folk should not try using the configuration tools/profiles described (as that would create conflicts with the TrustDitigal server).

And, yes, there is an “iPad for Dummies” title on Amazon.  The Amazon page also identifies several other similar books.