Recently at the Apple WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) Steve Jobs announced the latest addition to the family of Apple products – the iCloud. While the concepts of cloud computing and cloud storage are not entirely new, the iCloud will be more than "a hard disk in the sky". According to an article at http://www.gomonews.com/blue-skies-ahead-for-apples-icloud/ this will be an “entirely new kind of cloud-based service environment that works in concert with local iOS apps that enable a hybrid between local apps and cloud apps.”
Currently my iMac is the hub to which I must synch my iPad. This new model sets the iCloud as the hub. I will be able to synch my iPad to the could directly.
Along with the iCloud, Jobs announced the new iCloud Store where one will be able to purchase all of the latest cool apps for the iCloud. Part of the Store will be the iBook Store. This will allow a user to purchase any iBook available and download it to an allowed iCloud device – including all of Apple’s iOS mobile devices. If you have more than one device, no problem. You can purchase and read it on your iPad, and then later look something up on your iPhone, or use it as a cue card when giving a presentation.
Now think of your typical school that runs through thousands of textbooks a year and are constantly needing to update to the latest version of the text. With the iCloud a school could purchase a site license and then give permission to each student to access the iBook. Each student could have the “book” in hand in a matter of minutes. More importantly, the school may provide an iPad to the student while at school, but if the school wishes to keep the iPads at school, the student may still access the book from home.
Next consider how this could revolutionize the school library. With the proper license and mobile devices, a library could carry a virtually unlimited number of literary works, and make them available to a virtually unlimited number of students, who could access the books from virtually anywhere, at virtually any time.
This could very well be one of the most significant developments in the history of our educational system. At the very least, it will change the way we think of books and our access to the vast storehouse of literary treasures.