Making the Grade: iTunes U and iBooks Author are suffering from software rot

Google has been ridiculed over growing and shutting down diverse programs over time, but in relation to corporation software program applications, I might prefer that over letting matters die a slow agonizing loss of life. Apple, alternatively, has executed the latter with two of its K–12 centered software packages: iBooks Author and iTunes U. Apple have permitted those apps to be afflicted by software program rot.

About Making The Grade: Every Saturday, Bradley Chambers publishes a brand new article approximately Apple in education. He has been handling Apple devices in schooling surroundings considering the fact that 2009. Through his revel in deploying and managing 100s of Macs and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways wherein Apple’s merchandise work at scale, memories from the trenches of IT control, and approaches Apple should enhance its merchandise for college kids.

iBooks Author turned into released in 2012 with tons fanfare at an schooling-targeted occasion. I took a have a look at that occasion ultimate 12 months.

iBooks Author was a Mac-handiest application for building those interactive textbooks. Creating iBooks sooner or later came to the iPad the day before today however as a characteristic of the brand new Pages app for iPad. It’s not virtually a total 1:1 alternative.

It hasn’t visible a significant update in two years, and that replace genuinely delivered new templates to work with. It’s largely the equal software that it became whilst it turned into released in 2012. Is iBooks Author an app that colleges are presupposed to build around? If so, what promise do they have that it will likely be like-minded with anything in the future? Version 2.Zero came out six years in the past, and a couple of.6.1 is the current version. Are multi-touch books nevertheless an approach that Apple is targeted on? If so, why was it released at the iPad as a subset of features interior of Pages? Perhaps the maximum telling this is that the advertising pics on the iBooks Author website are not even optimized for Retina displays. iBooks Author is actually a demonstration Apple has a software program rot trouble in K-12.

Another application/service that Apple is essentially neglecting is iTunes U. If you aren’t familiar with iTunes U, it’s a software program/carrier utility designed for teachers to facilitate delivering homework, hosting private discussions, and features an included grade ebook.

Apple pitches it as a seamless way to arrange your school room. When you study thru the marketing substances for it, it seems like it ought to be a great useful resource for instructors and students alike. The key-word right here has to. iTunes U at the iPad is on 3.7.1. The last significant replace became with three.5 which became launched in March of 2017, and that wasn’t even plenty of whatever.

• Mark up pics with instructions or comments the usage of integrated annotation tools • Quickly ship video messages and comments in 1:1 chat between instructors and college students • Open audio or video documents immediately in different apps

Prior to that, it best saw three updates in 2016. The ultimate most important function changed into launched in 2015. This update history is a photograph best case of Apple letting this provider be afflicted by software program rot.

Sadly, iTunes U doesn’t even aid cut up display screen at the iPad but. The Apple Pencil aid is naked bones. It could be difficult for me to suggest iTunes U as a platform for everyone at this factor.

For each iTunes U and iBooks Author, it’s now not absolutely clear that all and sundry at Apple is even running on both platforms. Both of them had vast promise and must have been at the spine of Apple’s K–12 methods.

While iTunes U has been disregarded, Google has been tough at paintings on Google Classroom. Since it’s launch, Google Classroom has been continuously updated and improved. It works on iOS, macOS, and ChromeOS. iTunes U best works on the iPad. It’s ironic that Google is doing a better job of helping Apple’s structures with a K–12 software program than Apple. Yes, Google shuts down plenty of offerings, but I’d instead them be shut down than suffer from software program rot (that is what Apple is doing).

iTunes U could have been at the center of Apple’s K–12 strategies. It might have been in which everything ended up and where the whole lot started. Instead, it’s long gone years without meaningful updates to either the utility aspect or the server-aspect thing. While Apple is still running on other lecture room apps, it’s now not even close to being a 1:1 substitute for iTunes U. Even the Classroom app has long gone over 12 months without a significant replace.

Apple pitches the security for college students and teachers, and while I love that thing of it, I want to look that plus endured upgrades. Under Steve Jobs, Apple deployed an immediately accountable character (DRI) mentality for each undertaking. It’s quite clean, there’s no DRI for iTunes U and iBooks Author at Apple. If those packages aren’t going to be developed and more advantageous, Apple should announce plans to shut them down in place of permitting them to suffer from software rot.