EXCLUSIVE: January Apple media event, iBooks 2.0 details revealed

Apple Inc. announced a press event to be held later this month, confirming rumors from various sources. Technology bloggers first picked up the story earlier this week of a special Apple event, although the exact nature of the information to be presented was unknown. Apple announced today that the presentation would be an update on their highly-popular iBooks mobile publishing platform. The press release proudly proclaimed that the iBookstore had sold “nearly two books” since launching last year, and is on track to sell at least three within the next five years. The presentation later this month is expected to include additional information about iBooks users and their reading habits, although sources inside the Cupertino tech giant are reporting that such data may be hard to gather since neither user of the service has agreed to have their usage monitored by Apple.

The data Apple does have, however, is good news, says our insider. The data shows a steady increase of purchases, which climbed from zero to one in late December and has shown steady signs of doubling within the next year. “We are all extremely excited about what may soon become our second purchase through the iBookstore,” wrote Tim Cook in an email to Apple executives. “Getting people this interested in reading actual words has taken a lot of hard work from all of you, and I’m proud of the work this team has done.”

However, others remain confident that a new update to the service will be announced, which will lead to an explosion in users downloading the free app from Apple’s App Store. Sources inside Apple have confirmed that while a major iBooks update is underway, it may or may not be launched at the media event. What we have learned from our sources is that iBooks 2.0 will once again “revolutionize the way users don’t read books on their mobile digital devices.” One source has even gone so far as to claim that “some people might actually care about this update,” noting that “a lot of other people might download it just to see what the fuss is about.” Our source admits, however, that the only changes he is currently aware of are “miscellaneous bug fixes, including a problem rendering certain fonts with the Sepia effect, and the addition of a new highlighting color.”

As far as publishers are concerned, iBooks 2.0 will bring a whole new content licensing agreement, according to our sources. The new licensing program, in the words of one high-level Apple employee, will “allow Apple to keep 90% of the profits for each sale in exchange for actually getting someone to buy the crap these publishers are pushing nowadays.” The employee also informed us that all but one major publishing house has already signed off on the new deal with great enthusiasm at the prospect of having their content front-and-center for the expected flood of as many as three new users following the massive update later this month.

Whether Apple launches iBooks 2.0 at the presentation, or simply rehashes the numbers on existing users, we fully expect the January media event to be completely devoid of delightful surprises or interesting content.