Apple’s Education Event kicked off this morning with plenty of excitement. Announced last week, there was already significant evidence that the event would involve digitizing of textbooks, but the magnitude in which Apple has changed the world of textbooks is quite impressive. Amongst the normal overview and statistics surrounding the topic of Apple in education, the company released a new version of their iBooks app and introduced two new apps for teachers and students.

As for the numbers, Apple states there are over 20,000 iPad-optimized apps for education available in the App Store, more than 1.5 million iPads being used in educational institutions, and plenty of educational books in the iBookstore.

One of the goals for Apple was “reinventing textbooks.” Of course, Apple had no intention of simply turning physical pages into digital text and images. These new textbooks are all about immersing a student in the content, complete with videos, presentations, and interactive 3-D models. Find out more by reading the iBooks v2.0 update and textbook availability details.

iBooks is a universal app compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch running iOS 4.2 or later, and available in the App Store as a free download.

Partnering with top textbook publishers is critical in really getting things off the ground, although, Apple wants all educators to have access to these innovative new teaching tools. So, the company created a very easy to use iBooks authorizing app that integrates with Keynote, publishes to iTunes U or the standard iBookstore, and more. Our hands-on look at the iBooks Author app should be all it takes to entice you to get started on your own interactive book projects. Available now via Software Update or Apple.com, iTunes v10.5.3 is required to sync textbooks to your iPad.

iBooks Author is compatible with an Apple computer running Mac OS X 10.7.2 or later, and available in the Mac App Store as a free download.

The combination of the two previous apps makes for one remarkable educational experience. However, Apple is taking things even further. A hub for higher education, iTunes U has made it much easier for students of colleges and universities to discover and easily acquire great educational materials. Today, Apple is also “reinventing curriculum.” The perfect companion to iBooks, the iTunes U iOS app launch is certain to be another milestone for education.

iTunes U is a universal app compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or later, and available in the App Store as a free download.

As a final note, Apple has posted the entire Apple Education Event keynote to the Apple Events section and “iBooks Textbooks for iPad. The next chapter in learning” video to the Apple in Education section of Apple.com.