By Jared Fields, Editor in Chief
ACU continues taking steps toward bringing Apple technology to campus sooner than first imagined. After the Sep. 5 release of the iPod touch, the university expanded the number of researchers from the originally planned 7-10 to almost 40.
“Two days during the time we were making our call for proposals, the iPod touch was introduced,” said Bill Rankin, associate professor of English.
The iPod touch allows the university to bring more people into the research because of the similarities between it and the iPhone. Rankin said other than no phone capabilities, camera and a few other minor differences, the two products are similar enough to research the same things.
Also, the iPod touch’s price makes research more affordable when compared to the monthly phone plan the iPhone requires.
“What’s most import is it gives us an opportunity to study the iPhone Web browser without having the cost of the iPhone,” George Saltsman, director of Educational Technology in the Adams Center for Teaching Excellence, said. “Wherever we would want to research how the iPhone uses the Internet, we can use the iPod [touch] to do the same.”
The researchers will be placed in seven groups researching different aspects of the iPhone’s use.
“Rather than just . maybe one person working on a particular area, we have 4-5 people working on a particular area,” Rankin said. “It lets us prototype our studies with a devise that’s, granted, less capable, but more affordable and easier to get into more people’s hands.”
The 16-gig cost about the same as the 8-gig iPhone, and researchers have the choice to pick which devise they want to use in their research.
While no plan currently exists for the monthly iPhone bill, Rankin said the iPod touch helps with some worries about how it could be handled.
“To date, AT&T hasn’t created a corporate plan,” Rankin said. “We have to buy it as though we’re an individual. Right now, there’s no way to have a bunch of iPhones on campus. The iPod touch let’s us not have to deal with that plan.”
For the 40, applications came due Thursday to accept their role in one of the seven research groups. Final word comes Friday for the applicants.
Like painting a house, having more people allows quicker progress.
“Before, we imagined a multistep function,” Rankin said. “I feel that puts us in a great position to figure this out. . and lead us more quickly to the decisions we’ll make.”
The seven research groups begin with the executive study group. This helping the other six groups. When other groups present new ideas and innovations, the executive study group looks at it and applies the new information to the other groups.
The six groups left will explore on- and off-campus interactions, teaching and media applications and infrastructure questions.
“It will prototype our studies in a lot more ways,” Rankin said. “How people study, how people live on campus and how people study off campus and how people get their news and how people interact with the technology on campus.”