wasting bandwidth since 1999

It’s Not a Phone, Mostly

Being a card-carrying geek and Apple fan, I watched the video of yesterday’s presentation at which they discussed plans for the iPhone (iPhone 2.0, of course) coming this spring.

The session was primarily for developers (which I’m not) and I don’t claim to understand everything. But it seemed very clear that Apple intends to turn this device into a mobile computing platform, not just a phone.

Which is just fine with me. The ability to make a call is the least important feature on the device. In fact, if that function quit working, I probably wouldn’t notice until my wife complained about not being able to call me.

Instead I have a pretty good internet device (it’s great when connected to wifi instead of AT&T’s network), an excellent media player, a close-enough-for-me GPS unit, and more. In short, a teriffic communications device.

With the release this week of the software developers kit (SDK) for Mac mobile, my iPhone will become even more of a multipurpose computing device.

By June, lots of very inventive programmers will let loose with new programs that will add even more functionality to the sleek little box in my pocket.

Can’t afford an iPhone? Admittedly the initial cost plus the AT&T contract makes this a luxury for many people (me included!).

But have you noticed that lower priced device in the Apple catalog with almost the same functionality? The one that doesn’t require a tether to the 21st century incarnation of Ma Bell, called the iPod Touch?

iPhone without the phone. And that distinction will probably disappear as soon as someone writes a portable version of Skype.

So, what has all this got to do with education?

While the iPhone and the Touch are expensive phones/iPods, if you look at them as computing devices they appear much more reasonable. And they’re in a form factor our students already understand and use.

Whether they come from Apple or not, devices like these that fit in your pocket are potentially powerful tools for education.

If, that is, we can get people past the idea that it doesn’t look like a “computer”.

iphone, apple, education, mobile

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3 Comments

  1. Tim,

    I too am excited about the potential of powerful handheld devices but anticipate that they will primarily serve as a second device for computer users for a good, long while.

    http://kassblog.com/index.php?itemid=478

    Richard

  2. If I had a dollar for every time I read or heard someone basking in the afterglow of the latest technology I still couldn’t afford the iPhone, or the iPod Touch, for that matter.

  3. Tim

    Look at the trend where laptops are approaching the capability of desktops and are increasingly outselling. I don’t think it will take long (maybe less than two years) before these handhelds are powerful enough for some people to switch from their laptops.

    And, as I said, look at how students and others use their cell phones for more than just voice communications. For some, it’s already their primary computer.

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