Another University to Give Away iPhones or iPods

Oklahoma Christian University announced Friday that it will give a double dose of mobile technology to incoming students starting in May — an Apple laptop computer and an iPhone (or an iPod Touch, which is essentially an iPhone without the telephone function).

The move follows the announcement last month by Abilene Christian University that it would give iPhones to all incoming students starting in the fall. That university does not have a laptop program. In fact, a committee of faculty members and administrators had been looking into requiring laptop ownership, but decided on the iPhone project instead.

The move represents a major platform shift for Oklahoma Christian, which since 2001 has given students PC’s. To announce the switch, the university produced a YouTube video that parodies Apple’s television ads in which a character representing a PC spars with a character representing the Mac about which machine is better. Oklahoma Christian’s president, Mike E. O’Neal, appears in the video.

John Hermes, chief technology officer for Oklahoma Christian, said in an interview Tuesday that the university got Apple to throw in the iPhones and iPods for a small additional cost over that of the laptops. “They rolled it into a package deal, and it worked out to be less than what we were paying for our mobile technologies” from the university’s previous laptop provider, Dell, he said.

Mr. Hermes said the university did not consider giving out only iPhones instead of laptops, as Abilene Christian is. “There’s so much that you can’t do with an iPhone,” he said. “I still think that the laptop is so important.” —Jeffrey R. Young

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