It seems just like yesterday that we were trying to get our employees to embrace laptops, projectors, and Microsoft Office PowerPoint (okay, we're still working on true acceptance of these technology tools, but that's another story). The iPad is growing in popularity, as Apple and other app developers are continually pushing the device in new and different ways. For example, you can now view ebooks in the iBook's app and use a Mac application, iBooks Author, to create them.
This past January, Apple introduced the iBooks Author application. The application allows authors to create interactive digital books in the ePub format that can be copied to the iBooks app on the iPad. The introduction of the application was originally geared toward the education and book publishing market. While reading about how the application worked, it dawned on me hat the capabilities were well matched for the enterprise as well. As I began to learn more about the application, I became intrigued with the idea about how this application could be used by our our staff to create rich electronic documents.
The employees in our office are already fairly comfortable using Microsoft PowerPoint to integrate text, photos, audio and video into their presentations. Creating these same presentations in the PDF format does have some limitations, and it can be challenging to embed audio and video to get them to play correctly. Using iBooks Author and the iBooks app on the iPad makes this process easy.
The primary requirement for iBooks Author is that you need a Macintosh computer, and then you can install iBooks Author for free from the App Store. (I wonder if Apple will see the light and release a Windows version of iBooks Author in the near future.)To create an ebook, I recommend using the iBooks Author built-in Template Chooser (see Figure A) from the file menu. Figure A
Will the iPad, the iBooks app, and iBooks Author revolutionize how we create and author ebooks, user manuals, reference guides, and other electronic documents in our enterprises? Only time will tell. In the interim, the iPad is fast becoming an essential tool in our daily enterprise work environment, and these new tools are helping us to visually present information in diverse and rich ways. This combination of software and hardware is one more excellent example for the enterprise on how to move away from paper and embrace e-documents by using a tablet as an information tool.
For more information about creating ebooks for the iPad, check out "Publishing with iBooks Author," by Nellie McKesson and Adam Witwer.
Paul Strobeck is an IT Manager for a local government in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has worked in the government IT sector since 1985. As an advocate for tablet computing, since the arrival of the iPad, Paul enjoys discovering new uses and solutions for the tablet platform in enterprise IT.