Tag Archives: apple

iBooks Author for Mac

Apple changes the publishing business once again. Sure there are other formats and authoring tools which are supported in iBooks, but this is different: an application that fits tightly in the Apple ecosystem, and as is normally the case with Apple products, simple.

Apple unveiled this new tool in their Apple Education event in NYC. Here are some highlights and features:

Integration with other Apple products and workflow

Template gallery

Drag-and-drop editing

Embedding and customization of elements such as galleries

Support for JavaScript

Support for HTML5

iPad simulator/preview

Accessibility support

Support for widgets

Apple says on their website:

Available free on the Mac App store, iBooks Author is an amazing new app that allows anyone to create beautiful Multi-Touch textbooks — and just about any other kind of book — for iPad. With galleries, video, interactive diagrams, 3D objects, and more, these books bring content to life in ways the printed page never could.

Did I say it is free of charge on the Mac App Store?

This application should facilitate the process for creating custom interactive eBooks that play well, natively, in Apple (and perhaps other) devices. Now all one needs is creativity…

One of the sources: The Official Apple Website, and TheNextWeb.

An Unofficial Look into Steve Jobs’ Life and Career

The All About Steve Jobs website is an unofficial yet comprehensive source of information about Steve’s lifestyle, career, key people in his life, genius on stage, and genius at work.

The neatly-curated and well-presented information on this website includes interviews with colleagues, family, employees, and the man himself. Here you can have a glimpse at the way he worked with people on a daily basis, how he led Apple to mainstream success with his vision and “gut feeling” for good design, how he alone (and hist good taste for what simply works) was the consumer-testing department for every new product  at Apple.

A timeline shows Steve’s accomplishments at a glance.

An interesting fact about this website is that it has been built by a true fan over the years, not as a homage after Steve’s passing.

Image source: All About Steve Jobs.com

Steve Jobs Has Passed Away

A visionary, as many say. May sound clichè, but he (and the team he led) have truly revolutionized the world of technology. Under Steve’s command Apple brought UNIX-based laptop and desktop machines to a wider audience with the Mac with a longer life cycle than any more popular Windows-based systems then. Steve made  listening to music while wearing earbuds cool with the iPod line, and changed the world of mobile telephony with the simply yet powerful iPhone. He  (literally)  pushed the envelope for power in a small package with the MacBook Air, and (despite the initial controversy in the media) created a new standard in tablet computers with the iPad laying out the path for others to follow.
A few things I will remember about Jobs for:

  • The precursor of the Personal Computer era,
  • User-centered design and engineering working together into one product. Products that needed no manuals: play with them as soon as you get them out of the box. Remember the first iMacs? Seeing my daughter play with an iPhone since she was less than 2 years old is a testimony to Steve’s genius in proving complex experiences packaged in simplicity.
  • Technology not for technology’s sake, but having solutions and people in their center,
  • Awe-inspiring presentations that were just as simple as the products he envisioned. Using metaphors, clean imagery, and a soft-spoken tone.

Being in the field of Education myself, I have to say that Apple has long had a foot in Education providing excellent resources, professional development on how to use their products in and outside the classroom, and even offering products exclusively targeting the Education market. But it’s due to Jobs’ vision that creative professionals, educators, students are able to access, create, and share knowledge in ways we could only imagine a few years ago, being it on iOS devices’ innovative gesture-oriented interface, or sleek MacBook on the go.

Steve played a big role in Apple’s ascension. The world of technology in general owes a lot to his vision and leadership.

Even though he has passed away, his legacy is here to stay. He will be missed.


Here is what the Apple website looked like on  this sad day.


Some countries translated the message above.
Here are some examples.






Steve Jobs – Thinking Outside the Box

It’s common knowledge that Steve Jobs is an innovator and has done a great hob at bringing Apple back up and making it one of the most prominent technology companies of our time.

This video is particularly interesting in that it shows Jobs’ ability to express ideas in a simple manner with effective persuasive discourse that elicits just the right reaction from the audience. When he announced the partnership with Microsoft, back in 1997, he made a careful choice of words and visual aids (including a live video link with Bill Gates) to explain the partnership highlights.

Perhaps the following sentence  is the perfect example that summarizes his genius in that deal and the fact that he makes the right decision even when people can’t seem to comprehend why at first. Back when Apple vs. Microsoft was even more serious business, Steve Jobs says at 7’17″:

“If we wanna move forward and see Apple healthy and prospering again we have to let go of a few things here. We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. We have to embrace the notion that for Apple to win, APPLE has to do a really good job, and if others are gonna help us, that’s great! Because we need all the help that we can get. And if we screw up and don’t do a good job it’s not someone else’s fault: it’s our fault!”

Here’s a good (old) article on Businessweek about Steve Jobs’ presentation secrets: Uncovering Steve Jobs’ Presentation Secrets.

Uses of the iPhone/iPod/iPad in the Classroom

I came across a short presentation by Grace Poli from Union City High School on Slideshare.net. The presentaion focuses on practical ways for using the iPod Touch in class, but of courses the uses of all of Apple’s mobile devices are interchangeable most of the time since they have similar technical specifications.

Here are some highlights and resources from the presentation.

Resources and Ideas

  • Apple Learning Interchange – http://ali.apple.com
  • Learning in Hand – http://learninginhand.com
  • iPods in Education Webcast – http://macenterprise.org
  • iPods in Education: The Potential for Language Acquisition – http://e2t2.binghamton.edu/pdfs/ iPod_Lang_Acquisition_whitepaper.pdf

Unexpected Uses of the iPods


1. Train Doctors to Save Lives – American College of Cardiology indicates iPods are used to listen to recorded heart sounds to teach medical students how to better recognize different conditions 2. Bring Criminals to Justice – United States federal district court has started using iPods to hold copies of wiretap transmissions in a large drug-conspiracy case 3. Get Yourself Into Serious Shape – TrailRunner is a free program that helps you plan your route and then loads your iPods with maps, distances, and time goals

4. Tour Around Great Cities – iSubwayMaps lets you download subway maps from 24 major cities across the globe. They range from New York City, Paris, and Berlin to Moscow, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Audio tours of New York and Paris downloard Soundwalk narrated by a celebrity for $12.

5. Calculate the Right Tip – TipKalc helps you figure out the tip and grand total

6. Record Flight data – LoPresti Speed announced plans to use iPods as flight data recorders in light aircrafts (will have the ability to record over 500 hours of flight time data)

7. Throw a Meaner Curveball – Pitcher for the Houston Astros, started using video iPod to review pitching frame by frame to improved overall techniques 8. Learn Foreign Language – University students are using iPods to record lectures, take notes, and even create electronic flash cards 9. Memory Stick – save your Microsoft office files 10. Wikipedia – download one of the largest encyclopedias on your iPod (FREE)

More ideas from other practitioners can be found in the Apple Interchange Learning Community which I highlighted in a previous post.

Apple’s Mobile Devices and Education

Apple is known for supporting educational uses of its technologies.

On Apple Learning Interchange Community, for instance, teachers can find news and share lesson plans and ideas on different subjects.

Of course, Apple also supports the use of their mobile devices for learning, and here is their official website dedicated to just that: showcase different ways the iPhone/iPod Touch can be used to support Education.

“iPod touch and iPhone are perfect for on-the-go learning. But don’t let their small size fool you. These devices put thousands of apps and countless possibilities in your pocket.”

Also noteworthy is their website showcasing educational uses of the iPad. This website highlights features and uses such as:

  1. Web-ready apps (Safari, Mail, Maps)
  2. Multimedia access (music, videos, websites)
  3. Management apps (Calendar, Notes)
  4. iWork for document creation/editing (Pages, Keynote, Numbers)
  5. eBooks
  6. Accessibility-readiness (screen reader built in)
  7. iTunesU (academic content readily available on iTunes)

The iPad being somewhat cost-effective,  more portable, and “closed” (not allowing as much student tampering and access to inappropriate content) can be some of the good reasons to adopt the device in educational settings.

“Your school day gets more productive — and more fun — when you can page through websites, write an email, flick through photos, or watch a movie with just the touch of a finger.”

Apple and the iPhone – When the Customer doesn’t Matter…

“…because we’re too good for you…”

That is the vibe I get from Apple with this whole iPhone 3G shortage fiasco, or circus…

Everyone that reads my blog posts here knows that I have been quite disappointed with the customer care at Apple and their attitude towards the shortage and their customers. Well, today I got the “icing on the cake” on “great” policies from Apple.

I had “backordered”, that is, stupidly let AT&T charge my credit card for an iPhone that was going to be shipped to the store for me in 10-20 days — which was shipped in a week’s time (today). I got an email alert and went there to grab the iPhone, of course, not so excited to have it anymore. Not after waiting in line once at the Palo Alto store when I was in CA for an hour to find out “my corporate” discount wasn’t going to transfer, left the line and canceled the discount… got back in line the next day (it was too late that same day) and found out that my wife is the primary account holder and they couldn’t sell it to me even though I had proof of our relationship and her documents… mmm… leaving that alone (I already blogged about it)…

Back to the AT&T store: I got there, did everything and left with my iPhone. As soon as I called my wife (should have been me… seriously) I noticed there was a little “ringing” in the voice and all… I went back to the store: defective! So, I learned Apple doesn’t even ship enough iPhones to AT&T stores in case of a defective device like mine. Two options: get a refund and go back to the “backordering” process after re-chargin my credit card OR going to the Apple Store to replace the unit. I asked the AT&T guy to call Apple to find out if they had at least enough replacement units. THEY TOLD HIM THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SAY WHETHER THEY HAVE iPHONES OR NOT, if that is the case!!!! Now, what kind of stupid store can’t even say whether they have more units or not (once they find out a costumer has a defective unit)???? Apple is STUPID, “geniuses”!!! Seriously: they wanted me to drive to the store to then FIND OUT THE SAME WAY I WOULD OVER THE PHONE if they have or not iPhones to replace mine!!! What kind of crappy policy is that?! Costumers in the first place! Apple got it all “right”! If it wasn’t an excellent device (with it’s flaws and all), I wouldn’t have gotten back to the “backorder”… but it is a good phone… so… I hope other companies soon catch up on the technology quality Apple has (HP seems to be getting close for Windows-based machines), because in the costumer care side Apple is stupid…

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