The always-on Internet devices raise some novel possibilities, like tracking where students congregate. With far less controversy, colleges could send messages about canceled classes, delayed buses, campus crises or just the cafeteria menu.
While schools emphasize its usefulness — online research in class and instant polling of students, for example — a big part of the attraction is, undoubtedly, that the iPhone is cool and a hit with students. Basking in the aura of a cutting-edge product could just help a university foster a cutting-edge reputation.
Apple stands to win as well, hooking more young consumers with decades of technology purchases ahead of them. The lone losers, some fear, could be professors.