Steve Jobs has been dead for a few weeks, and so it’s time for everyone to start prognosticating what Jobs really wanted, what he really thought about things, and what he had in mind for the future. Easy to do that when the man isn’t around to speak for himself.

Much of this comes from Jobs’s authorized biography, which has been released to newsmedia in advance of its actual publication. Most of it isn’t really on topic for discussion here, but the New York Times mentions that Jobs was planning to hire textbook writers to create digital versions of their textbooks for the iPad.

He held meetings with major publishers about partnering with Apple, the book says. If textbooks were given away free on iPads he thought the publishers could get around the state certification of textbooks. [Biographer Walter] Isaacson said Mr. Jobs believed that states would struggle with a weak economy for at least a decade. “We can give them an opportunity to circumvent that whole process and save money,” he told Mr. Isaacson.

I’m not so sure that states would have been terribly eager to let Apple do an end-run around the certification process, but who knows? Likewise, who knows whether we’ll actually see anything like this happen now that Jobs has passed away.


  1. This story has been repeated often lately so I’ve read it a number of times but it still doesn’t make much sense to me. Why would anyone expect commercial publishers to be interested in free books? Then, what is meant by “state certification” and why would publishers want to circumvent them?” Is this a reference to state K-12 textbook adoption or does it refer to the curriculum standards that many states use to guide what goes on in classrooms and, by extension, what is contained in textbooks? Surely, it has nothing to do with state certification of teachers, a licensing process.

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