Alisdair Jessup, an exchange student from the University of London, is a self-proclaimed “iWhore.”
He originally bought the iPad, when Apple Computer, Inc. released it earlier this year, because “it’s just incredibly good looking and it’s really, really fun,” he said. At first, he used it only to watch movies, play Angry Birds and read newspapers and magazines.
But since Jessup purchased a Bluetooth keyboard to accompany his iPad, he has begun using the device for school. He now takes notes in class on his iPad and transfers them later to his laptop.
The iPad craze has hit Penn, and students can be seen using it in classrooms and study spots all over campus.
iPad sales “have shown an average monthly increase of 33 percent over April sales,” Jeffrey Rusling, director of technology sales and marketing at Penn Computer Connection, wrote in an email. Sales are only expected to grow, especially during the holiday season.
College junior Ikey Setton uses his iPad for classes just as much as he does for entertainment.
“I have my Blackboard account as one of my apps,” Setton said, referring to a software application that the electronic course management company released for the iPad.
“I also do a lot of my reading on it,” he said. “I can get a lot of my books for my ancient history classes, too, so it saves me money.”
Wharton sophomore Joseph Sutton uses his iPad before, during and after class.
“Before marketing class, for example, I’ll download the slides,” he said. “Then I’ll follow along during class and annotate on the screen. And, if I want, I’ll take notes on my iPad. And afterwards, I’ll upload it back to my computer.”
He no longer uses notebooks or his laptop computer in class.
“All I need for class anymore is my iPad,” he said. “It’s so much lighter, easier and more convenient than anything else.”
Trace Carter, an Apple Store specialist, said the iPad has been selling “pretty well” to students, who use the portable device to send e-mails and write papers. A popular application is a pared-down version of Pages, a word processor developed by Apple, Carter said.
“I’ve been dealing with a lot of students who, in lieu of buying a new laptop, have bought an iPad because it is so much easier and half the price of a laptop,” Carter said. iPads are sold at prices ranging from $499 for a 16-gigabyte version to $829 for a 64-gigabyte version with 3G, or third-generation mobile telephone services.
Rusling, however, doesn’t think that the iPad can replace a laptop, even with all of its capabilities.
“When students ask if they can use an iPad in place of a computer, we always let them know that it’s not a perfect substitute for a fully functional laptop or desktop,” Rusling said, “but it does serve as a great complement to their computer.”
Indeed, although Setton said he considers his iPad to be a “necessity” and can’t remember “how [he] used to live without it,” he said that “there are some essential things” he can only do on his computer.
While the use of iPads is catching on at Penn, some students who own them prefer not to use them in classes.
“I thought it was going to be a better tool for taking notes in class, but it really does not work well for that,” College junior Alice Rossiter said. “I still find it easier to use my computer for all of my schoolwork.”
Rossiter said she uses her iPad mostly to check her e-mail and to read The Wall Street Journal.
Engineering sophomore Nicki Blumenfeld, however, did not find the iPad to have any worthwhile use. “I returned mine because I don’t really have a purpose for it,” she said.
“I’m not gonna take notes on it because I hand write my notes and have to do a lot of diagrams and problem sets. The touchscreen is also hard to take notes on,” she said.
Students may have mixed opinions on the practicality of iPads, but the devices are gaining popularity on campus.
“I bought it without a reason but now I would definitely buy it again,” Jessup said.Comments powered by Disqus
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