Universities hand out free iPhones to students

Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

In a move which will do no harm to the Apple share price, some US universities are starting to hand out free iPhones and free iPod Touches to new students. The benefits are obvious – be seen as a cool cutting-edge university, and at the same time, encourage your students to use the devices in their education. But not everyone is on board with the idea.

The opponents are obvious – the professors – who are concerned that their students will spend more time fiddling around with their new toys than listen to the lectures. But they seem to be outnumbered by the supporters of the scheme.

The first supporter is obviously Apple who are keen to snag students as early adopters of Apple technology. Get them now while they are young and hopefully they will continue to buy Apple products for the rest of their life.

The second supporter are the universities themselves (minus the grumpy professors) who want to attract more students to their campuses. They are also exploring the possibility of making useful learning applications which students can download to their iPhones, making their devices useful learning tools. As far as the universities are concerned, this is the way of the future so what’s the point of fighting it? Better that they get on board and go with the flow.

The lucky students who receive a free iPhone have to pay for the contracts. They only get the phone free, and once they have paid for the contracts, they can then connect with the campus wireless network.

So is this the way of the future? Should universities be handing out free iPhones to incoming students? Or are professors right to call them a distraction?

[Via Washington Post]