Apple’s big education event just went down in New York, and as we predicted on Tuesday, the focus was on textbooks. Apple Marketing VP Phil Schiller introduced the event with some real talk about the poor state of education in the United States, and if you were following the Twitter account @herpderpedia yesterday, which retweeted hundreds of students complaining about the Wikipedia blackout (sample tweet: “WTF WHY ISN'T WIKIPEDIA WORKING I NEED TO DO MY HOMEWORK!”), you might be inclined to agree.Apple’s solution? Really cool-looking interactive textbooks, courtesy of the new iBooks 2 app. Even for someone who spent most of his school years looking at the clock and skipping as many classes as humanly possible, these look pretty darn cool. They’re chock full of 3D models, interactive images and other neat stuff. You can look up words from within the app, highlight passages, take notes, the works.And where do these textbooks come from? Well, Apple also unveiled iBooks Author, the much-rumored “GarageBand for e-books,” which looks like a really simple-to-use book creator, and that will probably be put to more uses than textbooks and educational titles (like the nature-focused series DK Publishing and E.O. Wilson are launching today) in the near future.Apple also announced a revamp of its iTunes U program, which used to be an expansive library of downloadable educational lectures and content. The new iTunes U app is an electronic way for teachers to interact with students. They can post (or stream) their lectures, hand out assignments and interact with the class via the app.The focus of Apple’s announcement today might be education, but just from looking at the iBooks Author demo, it’s hard not to get the feeling that this might be the future of books, period. Continue Reading ]More...[/url]