19/01/2012 12:30 GMT | Updated 19/01/2012 12:36 GMT

Apple 'iBooks Author' App Allows Users To Create Their Own Textbooks

Welcome to the next frontier in Apple’s quest to revolutionise our lives: the classroom.

The technology giant has announced iBooks Author, a new app that allows user to create their own textbooks using a combination of text and rich media such as pictures, video and 3D images.

Unveiling the app at an education event organised by Apple in New York, Phil Schiller, the company’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, explained how they identified learning in classrooms as an area ripe for a technological overhaul.

"One thing we hear louder than anything else is student engagement, inspiring kids to want to discover and learn," he said, according to reports on The Huffington Post.

"That's why we get excited to see student reactions to iPads in the classroom.'

Schiller described traditional textbooks as having the right content, but no longer being the right format.

The iBooks Author features include a ‘creation kit’ which shows users how to create multi-media, colourful pages. Text can be imported directly from software like Microsoft Office, which is then automatically reformatted as a book.

The announcement has caused excitement on Twitter where it was trending shortly afterwards. No doubt to the delight of Apple aficionados, the Daily Mail reports that the blueprints to the Apple textbook software are rumoured to have been created by the company’s late director Steve Jobs before his death.

There are already over 20,000 education apps available on the iPads, and more than 1.5m of the devices are used in schools across America.

The business aim of iBooks Author may be to path Apple's way into the classroom, but the app will also provide a welcome boost to the ever-growing self-publishing industry.

Writers of fiction and non-fiction who wish to illustrate their work and infiltrate a market beyond the Amazon and Kindle charts will no doubt seize the opportunity to use iBooks Author.

Previously derided as the last refuge of failed authors, publishing phenomenons like Switched author Amanda Hocking have shown that self-publishing can represent a genuine opportunity for aspiring writers.