There’s no doubt that Apple’s new iBooks 2 initiative has the potential to vastly improve the K-12 learning experience by offering attractive digital textbooks with interactive features like videos, animations, definitions, flashcards, and quizzes. However, the proprietary nature of the software means that publishers, parents, and schools will be locked into Apple’s ecosystem.

It’s an ecosystem so expensive that it will only help the privileged few.

The cost of iPads, digital textbooks, and the infrastructure to support them will prevent most schools from offering this technology to their students, creating yet another sharp dividing line between the haves and have-nots. Instead of paying a Mac tax, educators should embrace open standards like EPUB and the price-lowering competition they bring.

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