iPad and engineering textbooks
I have read opinions that the iPad could be attractive to students because e-textbooks would be cheaper and lighter to carry compared to physical textbooks.
I have some other benefits in mind.
Today, I have been doing some Mechanics revision. An iPad textbook with moving diagrams and interactive content would be immensely valuable for my studies.
I can think of so many benefits of electronic content systems that Engineering textbooks could make use of. Here are just a few ideas:
- fast access to symbol definitions where ever you see a symbol (this would also help with ‘does this V mean volume or velocity?’ — it's used for both)
- interact with virtual mechanisms, electrical circuits etc.
- search for key terms rather than flipping back and fourth to an index
- arrange tables of contents in a collapsible hierarchy (like OmniOutliner)
Lots of these things are available now. PDFs can have collapsible hierarchies to navigate content. There are interactive Java applets scattered about the web.
What I am looking for is the comprehensive quality of textbooks combined with the benefits of the iPad.
(I think it is already agreed that laptops and iPhones are not suitable replacements for books, but an iPad could be.)