There was a time the idea of handing out a device capable of holding 5,000 MP3s free to students would have caused sweating, outcry and at least a couple of writs from the music industry, but Duke University have made this into a unique opportunity.
New freshmen at Duke will receive a 20 gig iPod loaded with course information, calendars, and maps – and students will be able to download language lessons, music, recorded lectures and audio books from the university’s website. They’ll even be able to buy music from their own music store. Students get to keep the iPod, but will have to pay for its replacement if they lose it.
Duke will be handing out 1,650 iPods on August 19th during the freshmen orientation sessions.
Apple have long had a relationship with academia, from donating Macintoshes and equipment to schools to offering iTunes on Campus. This new version of iTunes dissuades students from downloading music illegally by giving them branded alternative whilst at the same time giving academic institutions another communications channel with their students.