Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

CliffsNotes for Apple’s Education Event

A core part of any Apple event is pre-event speculation, where folks like yours truly try to report and/or guess about what we’re going to see onstage. The run-up for today’s event has been a bit muted, though.

For a couple of reasons:

  • Apple has already told us it will be about education, which is both an interesting and potentially giant market. But for lots of people, that’s not nearly as exciting as, say, an Apple TV could be. (Not a lot of hype about e-textbooks at CES this year. Plenty of Connected TV chatter.)
  • People who know things about Apple have made a point of tamping down expectations. For starters, note that it’s in New York, not Apple’s Bay Area backyard, where it puts on its really big shows. Also note that Apple media boss Eddy Cue is supposed to be front and center, not CEO Tim Cook.

So, with a bit of air let out of the event in advance, the big remaining question is this one: Does Apple plan to blow up the textbook business, or just help it evolve a bit?

If you have time this morning, you can read two takes by professional Apple-watchers Philip Elmer-DeWitt (who’s in the “evolve” camp), and John Gruber (why not blow things up real good?).

We’ll know shortly. As I mentioned yesterday, the key thing to watch at the Guggenheim is whether Cue brings up reps from the big textbook publishers like Pearson and McGraw-Hill onstage, or whether the focus is on letting educators and others build their own books, so they can bypass both the publishers and the antiquated textbook procurement system.

A lot more fun to write about if it’s the latter, but AllThingsD will be there, regardless. Check back here around 9:45 am ET for a link to live coverage.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik