It doesn't directly support Mathematic or TeX* (you'd have to render it to a image and then import the image, not an elegant solution).
MathML is supported, but not directly. MathML is part of HTML5 and is supported by Webkit. Neither iBooks Author nor Dashcode really allow you to edit HTML code directly but if you create a Dashcode widget and then edit the code directly using your favorite text editor to include your MathML equation and then add that widget to iBook Author it will render. It's a little flakey, it sometimes won't display immediately but it does work. I just previewed a book on my iPad and got this equation to work (and it looks quite nice when it does display).
*- While I'd love to see TeX support I suspect it will be highly unlikely that Apple ever adds it. One can wish I suppose...
Exactly. As long as there is no TeX compatibility, Apple won't reach most math and physics educators. I have tried MathType yesterday and it is extremely cumbersome to use in combination, even beyond usability. The least unusable alternative is LaTeXiT.
Other issues with MathType:
- No equation numbering (which even in Word is a pain to use)
- Hideous symbol rendering. Only letters can be typeset with custom fonts, but e. g. not the integral sign, which is always set in Arial.
- You have to edit in a separate window and switch back and forth (imagine typing a text with a lot of single inline variable names).
So *please* Apple, heed our advice and help us type beautiful equations using *your* software. Your sense of design and usability should urge you to. If you'd like, I'll come over and show you.
I agree that LaTeX support is key. Not only does LaTeX provide beautifully typeset mathematics but it correctly integrates mathematics and text with proper spacing. I've always hated MathType-type equation editors because the formulas they typeset are ugly and integrating them with surrounding text is a pain and doesn't look good.
I've also been trying to find out how to include 3D graphics that can be freely rotated by the user (something like the graph of sin(x y), for x and y between -pi and pi. Evidently, the graph would have to be in collada format and I haven't found an easy way to get the graph into this file format.
One of the best 2D graph tools that allow for real-time user manipulation is Geogebra. How awesome if content created with that tool could be incorporated in an ibook.
If Mathematica manipulable 3D graphics (via the manipulate command) could also be included that would be amazing too. Sage math uses Jmol for its interactive 3D graphics and that is, I believe, freely available.
For the present, ibooks author (even with MathType), is pretty useless for creating interactive mathematic content and, frankly, I doubt that Apple would implement these suggestions :-(
So *please* Apple, heed our advice
Make sure to also tell them everything you want via the feedback channel, which is where they normally go first for info on what needs fixing:
Problems with insertion of Mathtype directly into iBooks Author via "Insert" menu.
I have noticed that the two apps (iBA and MType) don't like each other when you do this because when you close the Mathtype window it prompts you to save the equation as a separate file to the iBook - and the equation doesn't appear in the iBook.
So what I have done is create an equation in Pages and copy and paste into iBA and hey presto you can edit it to your heart's content and everything works as it should. Or if you already have equations in iBooks Author you can copy and paste one of those.
If you're using the "Insert MathType Equation" command in iBA's menu, and MathType asks you if you want to save the equation, it should be asking Save changes to Equation from iBooks Author? If that's the question it's asking, note the checkbox at the bottom of that dialog: Don't show this dialog from now on. Checking that box will suppress the dialog and immediately put the equation into the book when you close MathType.
If, when you close MathType, it's asking Do you want to save the changes you made to the document "Untitled XX"?, then there's a separate issue to deal with. If this is happening, please contact MathType Support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Others have wondered about using Mathematica or TeX with iBA. I don't know of a way to integrate Mathematica notebooks with iBA, but it's possible to re-use Mathematica equations and paste them into MathType. If you right-click an equation in Mathematica and choose Copy as MathML, you can paste it into MathType to use in iBA. For TeX users, you can type LaTeX directly into MathType, and convert it to a MathType equation by pressing Return.
MathType symbol rendering. Integral symbols, summations, and the like aren't typeset with Arial; these symbols come from the Symbol font in MathType. There is an alternative though. If you switch "Greek and math fonts" to "Euclid Symbol and Euclid Extra", they'll have more of a "TeX-look". Similarly, you can use the Euclid font as your main font, which will have somewhat of a Computer Modern apperance.
Tom gave a great suggestion -- if you want Apple to hear your request for LaTeX, click the feedback link in his reply and let them know about it. Don't assume they'll see this thread and act on it.
As in all applications that allow inserting pdfs or images you can use the excellent free LaTeXit application (http://www.chachatelier.fr/latexit/).
It is a simple frontend to LaTeX that will format your formula which you can then drag into the text - be it iBooks Author, Keynote or Pages. You can even drag the pdf back from iBooks Author into LaTeXit to reedit - the original text to generate the formula survives in comments within the pdf file.
While this does not solve other issues like numbering of formulas within the book etc, it is a great way of getting the excellent math editing into any other text editing application.