I am not the first in this course to profile Apple but I think the company and the influence that it has provided is large enough for more than one person to tackle.
Specifically related to mobility there is no arguing that the emergence of the iPod, the iPhone and now the iPad has had a profound impact on how we think about mobile technologies. While the cell phone captured our imagination with respect to mobile communication this next generation of devices has blurred the lines between communicative, computing and entertainment devices. Convergence is the key. Mobility from the learning perspective has everything to do with capability and accessibility. With the emergence of 3 and 4G networks and much more capable devices the learning opportunities have blossomed. Apple’s pivotal role in this is clear as we see competitive companies jumping to provide equivalent technologies. Google and Android, RIM and the Playbook, the evolution of smartphones generally and in particular the Apps driven ecosystems that seem to be driving it all.
My own utilization of mobile technologies has itself undergone a drastic change over the course of the last 6 months. I now rarely carry around a laptop computer and instead use an iPad when screen size and input is an issue and have recently purchased an iPhone 4. I have to say that it has been a game changer for me. I now find myself forgoing the iPad in favour of the ease of carrying and using the iPhone. In particular the ability to easily and cheaply collect and use apps that meet my particular needs has been the most important for me..and I believe this will be one of the most important aspects for mobile learning. I have used a Blackberry for the past 3 years and in that entire time never thought of it in the way that I now think of my iPhone. It was “a” Blackberry but it wasn’t “my Blackberry”.
Apple was first to the block with the iPod but not first to the block with smartphones, tablet computers or apps but they certainly have a way of making it seem like they were. They are expensive but it does seem that people are willing to pay the price for staying connected.