Adding to the flurry of rumors about Apple holding a news event later this month, Fox's Clayton Morris is reporting that the education-driven launch was originally slated to happen late last year.
Citing unnamed sources in a blog post today, Morris said the event, which will reportedly be education-focused and tie into Apple's iTunes University program, was originally set to be held in the fall, but was pushed back to this month for reasons unknown.
Morris said that what Apple plans to unveil has "been in the making for years," and is being held in New York instead of Silicon Valley due to textbook publishers being centrally located there. It also won't be hardware-related, Morris suggested, squashing any indications of a new iPad being unwrapped.
The tidbits join a host of others stemming from an All Things Digital report yesterday that claimed that Apple is gearing up to hold an event in New York later this month with a focus on advertising or publishing. TechCrunch later weighed in, saying that the event will center on publishing and Apple's iBookstore. Macrumors mentioned that Apple has already filmed interviews with "textbook industry executives" for use in a promotional video that is expected to accompany a new product launch. And Ars Technica suggested that part of the change could amount to support for the EPUB 3 standard, as well as improved tools for publishing books on Apple's platform.
Morris' report is bolstered by one from 9to5mac, which today said that Apple's iTunes team is currently on "lockdown mode," which presumably means they're heads down on getting everything ready ahead of a debut. "This affirms that whatever Apple announces will be connected to iTunes in some fashion," the blog said.
Expectations that Apple would delve deep into the textbook business were heightened late last year with the release of Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. In it, Isaacson noted that Jobs had "set his sights on textbooks," seeing the $8 billion a year business as something that was "ripe for destruction."
Jobs' "idea was to hire great textbook writers to create digital versions, and make them a feature of the iPad," Isaacson wrote in the book. "In addition he held meetings with the major publishers such as Pearson Education, about partnering with Apple."
Apple's arrival in the digital-book business is relatively recent, with the company launching its iBookstore alongside the first-generation iPad in January 2010. Since then the company has been no stranger to controversy, catching flak for its business practices against rivals including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. That includes changing the rules of its stores last year to keep rivals from selling digital books within their apps without using its in-app purchase program, of which Apple collects 30 percent of every sale. Amazon in particular has skirted the change, creating a browser-based version of its Kindle app.