Texas university to give students and faculty choice of free Apple iPhone or iPod touch

“Abilene Christian University has adopted Google Apps and will pair them with free iPhones for students and faculty next fall,” Clint Boulton reports for eWeek.

“ACU will offer its faculty and about 900 incoming freshmen free Apple iPhones or Apple iPod Touches. ACU will foot the iPhone and service bill for its teachers, while students who choose the iPhone will have to pay for their service plans through AT&T,” Boulton reports.

“The iPhone offer is a great contract for Apple, but it could prove to be just as good for Google. The search vendor currently optimizes several applications, including search, Gmail and YouTube, for the iPhone,” Boulton reports.

“Take into account that more than 6,000 students and faculty have been using Google Apps for more than a year and Google with minimal effort will be able to acclimate thousands of people to its Apps on the iPhone,” Boulton reports. “‘A smart phone that doesn’t do e-mail or calendaring is pretty much a useless device,’ Abilene Christian University CIO Kevin Roberts said. ‘The fact that the iPhone is already optimized for Google is a huge win for us.'”

More in the full article here.

21 Comments

  1. I wonder what percentage of those freshmen will choose iPhone (and be saddled with the $850 annual phone bill, when you add all those taxes), over the ‘Touch’, since their life will revolve around the Wi-Fi-blanketed campus, so that connectivity won’t be an issue. If Skype comes the iPhone/Touch way (with a cheap 3rd party mic hardware dongle), they’d practically be carrying an iPhone without the $70 per month spending.

  2. @Predrag,

    You’re absolutely right about the iPod touch regarding Skype….

    …well, except that you forgot that the touch is missing a couple of things that the iPhone has…like, a microphone.

  3. bioness…. uh… the article would suggest exactly the opposite. (hint – the actually has a tiny, but real, computer inside) ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  4. correction – bioness…. uh… the article would suggest exactly the opposite. (hint – the iphone actually has a tiny, but real, computer inside) ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  5. to Gzero:

    You must have missed the part in parenthesis (…”with cheap 3rd party mic hardware dongle”).

    I’m not sure what other thing that the Touch is missing (beside the above-mentioned mic) could be required by Skype. If I’m not mistaken, microphones for the Classic (and previous iterations of Nano) aren’t all that expensive. As soon as the new OS is out, there will be a Belkin (most likely) dongle with the appropriate recording software. Skype should be following behind very closely.

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