Apple once again proves that it doesn’t really need new ideas, technologies or such to come up with a commercially successful product. Isn’t the whole point of their latest Announcement of iBooks 2 and iBooks author and iTunes U exactly what Alan Kay has been talking about for, well, decades?
iBooks will have a lot more sex appeal than squeak has ever had, and the integration into the Apple ecosystem will no doubt be great. The fact alone that kids will now be able to play with their e-Textbooks on an iPad will help grow the iOS market.
But wait! Squeak, eToys and Scratch are so much more than just a multimedia vehicle to transport knowledge. They are enablers for creativity and learning environments. Apple’s new tools make presentation easier and maybe make learning a bit more fun. But it’s more or less a one-way channel that’s embedded in a widely known and desired ecosystem, but the new iBooks aren’t really interactive or programmable. You still cannot use an iBook and experiment with it or extend it. In fact, taking Kay’s ideas and Squeak’s potential and comparing them to what Apple presented today is like comparing day and night.