Why Apple won’t let the Mac and iPhone succeed in business

Last summer, it looked like Apple was finally going to make its Macs and iPhones enterprise-capable, giving hope to those who wanted a more stable, less failure-prone option at the office. Soon, it appeared, Macs and iPhones would no longer need to come in through the back door, or be relegated to “special” departments such as software development or marketing, InfoWorld reports. Don’t count on it. Bolstered by Windows Vista’s travails and the advent of OS-neutral Web apps, the Mac is no doubt on the rise in business. Even IT pros have begun warming up to the Mac. After all, a business-class MacBook Pro costs the same as a business-class Windows PC, so there’s no cost disadvantage to buying Mac hardware. And I hear consistently from IT folks who manage both Macs and PCs that Mac hardware tends to fail less frequently than PCs do and that its OS is more stable than Windows, translating into lower internal IT support costs. (Apple’s support plans cost about $30 more per year than what a Dell, Lenovo, or HP charges, and they require you to bring a Mac in to an authorized repair shop, which can be an issue for IT when the Macs do have problems.)

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Students use iPods, iPhones to grade Obama’s address

Abilene Christian students answered about 50 questions on their iPhones and iPods during President Obama's address.
Abilene Christian students answered 50 questions on their iPhones and iPods during Obama's address.

It’s the stuff that makes political pollsters salivate: 30 Abilene Christian University students used iPhones and iPod Touches to respond to President Obama’s Jan. 27 State of the Union address in real time, and a campus technology official said the exercise offered insight into boosting student participation in class.

Abilene Christian was among the country’s first campuses to bring iPhones to students when the school gave the devices to incoming freshmen last school year. Freshmen and sophomores now have university-issued iPhones or iPod Touches, and professors from the political science and journalism programs assembled 30 students to gauge reaction during Obama’s first State of the Union speech.

“It was a helpful exercise because … we were able to see if an interactive environment helped students engage in politics differently,” said Dennis Marquardt, Abilene Christian’s educational technology manager, who helped oversee the project. “It helped us understand where students were coming from a little bit more.”…Read More

iPhone users can now make internet-based calls

Users of Apple Inc.’s popular iPhone now might be able to save money by making internet-based phone calls over AT&T Inc.’s cellular network, reports the Los Angeles Times. Apple this week allowed new versions of several voice-over-IP services to begin working on the iPhone. Previously, iPhone users needed a wireless internet connection to make such calls, but the change will allow calls from anywhere that receives a strong enough 3G cellular signal. By using VoIP applications to sidestep the phone’s normal calling software, iPhone owners could avoid using up their monthly allocation of minutes from AT&T, potentially allowing them to choose cheaper plans. AT&T said in October that it had taken steps to allow iPhone users to make VoIP calls over the network, but Apple did not appear to approve those apps until this week. Riding the popularity of services such as Skype, internet telephony has become a fast-growing way for users to make low-cost domestic and international calls. Skype, which says it often has as many as 20 million users online at once, recently signaled its intention to submit its own 3G VoIP application to the iPhone…

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