This week Duke University (Durham, NC, U.S.A) welcome their frosh with more than just the 2004 Frosh Week activities and the class schedule. Every first year student received a brand new Apple iPod (4G) 20GB, plus a Belkin's Universal Microphone Adapter. Details of the project can be found on Duke University's web site.
It is said, the Duke U project expensed an amount of USD500,000.00 from the discretion fund, which the university allocated for innovative technology. This money paid for the iPods, staff administrator and support of the faculties participating in the project. Of course, Duke did not pay retail (USD299.00) for the iPods.
According to the project, these iPods are not for the musical entertainment of the freshmen. They are to be used for recording lectures, language studies and course work from the participating faculties.
Apple also gave each student a USD10.00 gift certificate to purchase music from the customized Duke University iTunes Music Store.
I must say, Apple made a much bigger bang with this Duke Project than what RealRhapsody did with their 80% discount of their pay-per-listen service for students of University of California, Berkeley.
Time will only tell what these competitors will come up with next in this heavily competitive online music industry.