Oct. 23, 2012 at 4:52 PM ET
Apple devoted a few moments to its iBooks app during an event Tuesday in San Jose. While the changes are modest, the subsequent introduction of the iPad mini could breathe new life into the e-reading platform.
Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, first noted that there are now 1.5 million books available on the iBookstore, including 80 percent of the US high school core curriculum — textbooks for subjects like math and history. 2500 classrooms in the US are using iPads, and the iPad mini's lower price tag could help increase that number.
The app itself now features a new continuous-scrolling reading mode and built-in sharing, but the iBooks Author app got more substantial updates. You can now embed fonts and interactive figures, such as mathematical expressions. Also, critically, over-the-air updating of existing content is now supported, so new data can easily be imported, whether it's fixing a typo or adding a citation.
Both apps are free to download. The iPad mini, which may prove to be even more of a hit with educational institutions, starts shipping on November 2nd.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.