Apple's digital textbooks with iBooks 2 were 'vision' of Steve Jobs

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Apple's newly unveiled textbook initiative for the iPad with iBooks 2 was a project spearheaded by the late Steve Jobs before his death.

Speaking with Peter Kafka of All Things D, McGraw-Hill CEO Terry McGraw said that he met with Jobs last June about the project and discussed their goals. McGraw-Hill is one of the first publishers already on board with Apple's new e-textbooks for iBooks 2, which cost no more than $14.99 each.

"He (Jobs) should be here. He probably is (in spirit)," McGraw said. "This was his vision, this was his idea, and it all had to do with the iPad."

The CEO said he's been interested in the iPad as a learning tool since Apple first launched the device in 2010. He sees Apple's new iBooks 2 platform as a way for textbooks to evolve and improve education.

"Apple has really essentially turbocharged the process (of building e-books), and it's just going to open up the world of learning to more people," McGraw said. "Anything we can do to be a part of that, we're going to do."

Textbooks were one of three industries Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he had hoped to reinvent. The other two revealed in Jobs's authorized biography were the television and photography.

While Jobs's vision for the future of textbooks was unveiled by Apple at this week's media event in New York City, what the late inventor had in mind for televisions remains to be seen. Rumors continue to persist that Apple is secretly working on a new, voice-controlled television set that could be released as soon as the end of this year.