September 12, 2012

What the new Apple iPhone 5 and iPod Touch mean for nurse educators

Today Apple announced the new iPhone 5, an updated iPod Touch, a new iPod Nano, and a new OS for the iOS devices. What will be of most interest are the iPod Touch and iPhone 5. These now come with a larger, high quality display and faster processors. There are improvements to the inner workings for things such a lower power Bluetooth connection. On the outside they are thinner, lighter, and taller. The width is the same.

The iPod Touch has long been my favorite recommended device for nursing students who do not want the monthly cost of an iPhone. All smartphones require a monthly data fee. The iPhone 5 in the US will work with Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint but all require a minimum extra cost of $30 per month. However, for as price sensitive as students claim to be I find that nearly all of my students now have an iPhone or an Android smartphone.

For nursing faculty who want to recommend software that will work on any student's smartphone they will be limited to the major commercial reference titles. If you want to have students use the hundreds of other healthcare apps the best choice is the iOS line of devices. This includes the iPhone, the iPad, and the iPad Touch. Only the iPhone requires a monthly charge. The iPad and iPod Touch will work with WiFi access to the Internet.

Another advantage of the iOS system is that students only need to go to one place, the iTunes Store, to download apps. There are many free and low cost apps available.

Both the iPhone 5 and the new iPod Touch have a taller screen. Most apps will probably not take advantage of this increased real estate at first. I would expect that the developers of the major commercial apps will be updating their apps within a few months from now. All older apps will run fine but in a "letter-boxed" format so you won't see a stretched image.

I will post more ideas about how these devices affect nursing faculty as soon as I get my hands on one. I will be ordering one on Friday when preorders become available.