As we all know, Apple recently announced, with the release of the new iTunes U, iBooks 2, and apps to create textbooks, that they will re-invent the textbook market. I have three kids in college, and that’s a big deal. Here’s the larger picture.
Sure, taking on the textbook monopoly is a big deal. Those publishers are quaking in their old-print-paradigm boots, because their 500-year old industry is now dead. DEAD!
Seriously, here’s the big picture of this phenomena at the moment: In 1450, Gutenberg invented movable type and printed his first Bible. The printed-book paradigm has not fundamentally changed until Apple announced apps for the common man to create electronic texts and instantly publish them to the world. That is a BIG deal. The emergence of the Internet and e-text was the opening bell in this world-changing shift, and all the recent developments in self-publishing, e-readers, e-books, and the accelerating transformation of the entire media industry are all part of this mega-trend, but until now and Apple’s announcement, we didn’t have the means to take full advantage of that potential.
Apple is poised to go after education next. There’s another centuries-old model screaming for transformation. Apple has already established a beachhead with this move into textbooks. Oh, by the way, they also have a market capitalization of $500 BILLION, and they make a BILLION more dollars each week. They have half a TRILLION dollars in the bank, which is absolutely unprecedented in the history of business. The have the platform, the ecosystem, the innovative chops, the market share, the beachheads, and the CASH to do this.
And the competition will not sit idly on the sidelines. Especially Amazon and Google, who have both staked their strategies on e-content. There will be furious competition here. This equals further opportunity for us consumers and developers – as long as we stay reasonably platform agnostic.