Apple to hold event in New York on Jan 19, hardware launch not expected

Apple has sent out invitations for a media event to be held in New York City on January 19. But banish from your mind images of CEO Tim Cook strutting around a stage holding aloft the iPad 2 successor or iPhone 5—the tagline on the invitation reads, “Join us for an education announcement in the Big Apple.”

According to ApppleInsider, the event is rumored to involve the announcement of improvements to the iBooks platform, possibly connected to education and digital book publishing. The launch of some piece of new hardware is not expected.

Unnamed sources have told All Things Digital’s John Paczkowski that the Cupertino company will be using the event “to talk about a textbook initiative” that could be “related to iBooks in education, presumably with some sort of tie-in to iTunes U.” iTunes U is part of Apple’s iTunes store and features more than 150,000 free educational media files from universities and cultural institutions around the world.

However, All Things Digital also reports that none of the major textbook publishers are known to be working with Apple’s iBooks platform or iOS at this time.

The New York Times seems in little doubt as to the purpose of the event, running with the headline, “Apple aims to take on the textbook market.” Its report states that the January 19 announcement will “showcase a new push by Apple into the digital textbook business,” saying its information came from a person close to the company.

It’s not known who will be heading the event, though it’s thought that Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue could have a role. The gathering will take place at the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan next Thursday, when all will be revealed.

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