Free iPod Touch For College Students

Buy a Mac for college and get a free iPod. That’s the deal that Apple is offering students, faculty, and staff at American universities this summer. VentureBeat thinks this is a huge deal and marks the beginning of the end of desktop computing.

Apple can get students started using their free iPod Touches. Then perhaps they opt to upgrade to an iPhone. Then maybe they’ll buy a new Mac Tablet or Newton-type device if and when it comes out. You can kiss the desktop computer goodbye. It’s time to start training the young minds of today about the future of computing: mobile.

I think VentureBeat is getting a little overexcited here. The deal is a great one, and the college campus, with its potentially ubiquitous Wi-Fi, is one of the only places where having an iPod Touch makes sense to me (otherwise, why not just get an iPhone?), but you have to take into account that, on certain university campuses, like the one I work on, the iPod Touch doesn’t work, thanks to VPN or other security software that’s in place.

A device that relies on Wi-Fi alone is never going to make a big splash, in my opinion, because free Wi-Fi isn’t as easy to find as Apple’s PR department would have us believe. And mobile computing on handhelds (in concert with affordable laptops) might kill the desktop, but it’s never going to kill the laptop. People still need keyboards, and most of us still want screens bigger than 3.5 inches to do any seriously involved work on.