Ohio State will give every incoming freshman an iPad Pro

Back to school shopping just got way easier for freshmen enrolling at Ohio State next fall. 

The school announced on Wednesday that every incoming freshman will be supplied with an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Apple keyboard case starting in 2018 as part of a new partnership with Apple. The iPads will be paid for from funds from Ohio State's "administrative efficiency program." 

At retail prices, an iPad Pro starts at $599, and the keyboard case costs $159. 

Ohio State's new program is called Digital Flagship University, and it includes a new lab opening in 2018 at Ohio State's main Columbus campus dedicated to iOS development using Swift, Apple's programming language. 

That lab will be open to students and faculty as well as "members of the community."

The announcement even had a quote from Apple CEO Tim Cook: "This unique program will give students access to the incredible learning tools on iPad, as well as Apple’s new coding curriculum that teaches critical skills for jobs in some of the country’s fastest-growing sectors,” he said in a statement. 

It is notable that while iPads can run apps that teach people to code, like Apple's Swift Playgrounds, actual software development for iPhones and iPads is difficult on an iPad because it does not run Xcode, Apple's main development program which is currently only available for Mac computers. 

Here are some ways that iPads are used by Ohio State, from the announcement

  • "In a “flipped” chemistry course, students watch lectures and complete assignments online using iTunes, which provides enhanced opportunities for dialogue and collaborative problem solving in the classroom."
  • "Journalism students in the School of Communication use iPads loaded with tools enabling them to learn skills important to their future careers."
  • "The College of Social Work deployed iPads to all staff and faculty as part of a comprehensive mobile education initiative in 2012 and published the first three iTunes U courses in social work in the nation."
  • "In biology courses on the study of plants, iPads function as field notebooks to document plant life, instruction aids and supplementary textbooks."
  • "The Marching Band, part of the School of Music, uses the iPad to teach and learn the band’s nationally recognized formations."
  • "iPads have been supplied to medical students since 2013 and are used as part of clinical instruction at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center."

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