Along with a substantial update to iBooks, a similarly substantial update to iBooks Author has also been released by Apple.

In the “little” big media event held by Apple today, Apple CEO Tim Cook highlighted the company’s technological contribution in the field of education. And he noted that iBooks Author plays a key part in carrying out Apple’s educational function.

Launched at Apple’s education event last January, iBooks Author is a Mac app that allows for the creation of various types of books for iPad. These include textbooks, cookbooks, history books, and picture books.

As demonstrated by Cook earlier today, the newly updated iBooks Author boasts a number of new features.

Now at version 2.0, iBooks Author lets you create books that are optimized for portrait orientation only. It also lets you embed custom fonts into books to suit your desired text appearance to a T.

In addition, iBooks Author 2.0 promises more interactivity with its integration of the new scrolling sidebar and pop-over widgets.

iBooks Author

And for the mathematically inclined, iBooks Author now also supports proper display of mathematical expressions. The app is now equipped with a native equation editing feature using both LaTex and MathML notation.

Furthermore, iBooks Author 2.0 includes the following enhancements:

  • Automatic optimization of media for iPad
  • Improved support for embedded audio, including the ability to play an audio file by tapping an image
  • Improved publishing workflow, including automatic sample book creation and pre-publish checking
  • Additional Apple-designed templates
  • Version numbering for books
  • Enhanced to take advantage of the Retina display on the new MacBook Pro
  • Performance improvements
  • Usability improvements

The latest version of iBooks Author is available now in the Mac App Store as a free download.