This is one of the rare times when I will link to a press release and encourage you to read it. Here's a snippet:
CUPERTINO, California—January 21, 2014—Apple® today announced iBooks® Textbooks and iTunes U® Course Manager are expanding into new markets across Asia, Latin America, Europe and elsewhere around the world. iBooks Textbooks bring Multi-Touch™ textbooks with dynamic, current and interactive content to teachers and students in 51 countries now including Brazil, Italy and Japan; and iTunes U Course Manager, available in 70 countries now including Russia, Thailand and Malaysia, allows educators to create and distribute courses for their own classrooms, or share them publicly, on the iTunes U app.
“The incredible content and tools available for iPad provide teachers with new ways to customize learning unlike ever before,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We can’t wait to see how teachers in even more countries will create their new lesson plans with interactive textbooks, apps and rich digital content.”
iTunes U is just one of the reasons I am a fan of the company. When you stop and think about it, Google is the one that should be doing this. They own YouTube, and freely scan all kinds of books into their system. Google has become synonymous with the internet. Yet they do not see fit to provide a week-organized educational resource. Apple does so at great expense, with no immediate or direct return on that investment in humanity. Apple does not even bother to advertise the fact that they are doing it, cheating themselves out of the good will that would bring them.
While everyone is busy trying to break into the third world economy to exploit what pennies there are for tech gadgets, Apple is breaking into those economies to provide the best, most extensive resources of free education on the planet. This move will go unacknowledged and unthanked by Apple's rivals. I thought I would take a moment to acknowledge it here.