I know that everyone has seen the iPhone from Steve Jobs' keynote (which you can download on iTunes) at Macworld '07, but until you have seen it actually demonstrated live, you really don't have the full flavor of what this device can and WILL do. The demo on Apple's site, doesn't do justice to the iPhone, but more than the iPhone being cool, it will cause everyone in the consumer electronics business to play catch up for the next few years. The iPhone is going to be a big hit because it does (however effectively) most of the things that people want a small mobile device to do. I wonder how freaked out the people at Research In Motion (Blackberry) and Palm (Treo) were when they saw everything the iPhone can do. The live demo at Macworld allowed those in attendance to see what the device could do and how it could be the ultimate 'single' device. Hacker's are also waiting to get their hands on the device, so they can add even more functionality to the device. In the live demo, the presenter listened to their iPod, answered a phone call, located a image file in memory, sent the image to someone attached to an e-mail, went back to the phone call and finished it and automatically went back to listening to music on the iPod function. Other things that are very cool about the iPhone is that the orientation of the screen changes automatically from portrait to landscape depending on how the unit is held and that all of the functions are touch controlled, there are no mechanical buttons on the user interface. Want to check out the iPhone? Watch David Pogue's video off his blog, the link is located on the right hand side of the page.
There were definitely other cool things at Macworld, but they mostly involved one of two areas. The first were services that allow users to share data of all types over a web connection. The second were ways to boot Windows on a running Macintosh computer, the most notable of these was an application called 'Parallels.'
After we cruised the convention floor, we went back to the Apple Educators Symposium and caught the last part of the session with Hall Davidson and the cool things he is doing with iPods as a portable media storehouse that allows you to carry your media anyplace for presentations. (The Mega VCR in your pocket!)
As part of the day, Chris Walsh from WestEd and the Google Teacher Academy did interviews of teachers attending the Educator Symposium and asked a few standard questions of each and video taped their responses for posting on Google's education blog, The Infinite Thinking Machine. The one question he asked was, "If every student in your school/district had an iPhone, how would that change education?" I think my response startled him a little, I said, "it would force teachers to change." "It would completely level the playing field, there would be no such thing as a 'digital divide.'" Teachers would have to find a way to integrate, there wouldn't be any excuses any longer. The students will quickly and easily adapt to any technology they have access to, but once any technology becomes common place, a critical mass will soon develop and teachers will become accountable to find ways to use what they have at their disposal. The second question surrounded around personal project that teachers were doing in their own schools. In this area, I happen to have two projects that I believe will change the educational process and how students interact with information and each other. The first is the 'personalized desktop' that I have blogged about previously, but I have altered slightly using 'Google Apps for your Domain.' Check out: www.capuchinohighschool.org to see some of the things we are providing for the students. Another project I am working on is called: Digital Bridge. In the Digital Bridge project, we are collecting donated computers and refurbishing them with students from my class and giving them to students who do not have a computer at home. We are also trying to find a way to provide Internet access to students who do not have resources to obtain Internet access on their own. Look for more information about all of these projects in the future.
If you want to see more check out the Slide Show of the entire day at Macworld 07