FOR THE WEEK OF JUNE 11, 2007
Apple's long-awaited iPhone debuts June 29
Existing technology isn’t necessarily eclipsed by newcomers. Radio survived TV, and is expanding via two satellite networks. Movie videos didn’t eliminate theaters. Newspapers distribute information more widely via the Internet, and now can put real-time news into readers’ hands anywhere via iPhone browsers. Start a discussion of other ways newspapers use the Web to become more timely, useful and interactive.
Apple’s current hype is as heavy -- and hokey, cynics can say -– as for any of its heavily promoted products. Challenge students to do a reality check of iPhone news coverage or reports on any consumer product – such as music, movies, TV shows or cars – for signs of critical analysis or PR spin.
Consumers learn about tech “toys” through newspaper articles, reviews and ads. Assign class members to find and comment on coverage of any home, office or personal electronic device. Is essential information provided? Are any details overlooked?
Apple’s uber-cool iPhone is about to make a splash among consumers, especially those who crave the latest tech gadgets – and who have lots of extra bucks. It goes on sale at the end of June at AT&T wireless shops for $500 with 4 gigabytes of memory or $600 for double the file-storage space.
Three TV commercials show a no-keypad design that looks more like a touch-screen game player than a phone. The iPhone has an Internet browser, 2-megapixel camera, IM and e-mail capability. It also stores music, photos, audio books and video clips, leading CEO Steve Jobs to brag that Apple has "reinvented the phone."
This is the latest entry in a super-hot line for Apple Computer, Inc. Its iPod is the most popular digital music player in history, with more than 100 million sold. Since the first ones hit shelves in November 2001, there have been five generations of iPod, two generations of iPod mini, two generations of iPod nano and two generations of iPod shuffle. "Along with iTune and the iTunes online music store, the iPod has transformed how tens of millions of music lovers acquire, manage and listen to their music," says a handout from the California company, which no one accuses of modesty.
Reviewer says: “Jobs succeeded in building expectations for what some have called ‘the God machine.’ The bar-of-soap-size phone is being coveted as a talisman for a digital age, and iPhone hysteria is beginning to reach levels usually reserved for video-game machines at Christmas.” – John Markoff, New York Times
Skeptics say: AT&T’s cellular network is slower than those of many rivals. The lack of a keyboard may turn off business users.
Blogger says: “ I really want to see how long the iPhone [battery] can run. Can a device that does video and audio, and sports a Wi-Fi radio as well as wide area access, really last longer than 45 minutes?” – Stephen Wellman, Information Week tech blogger
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