BCS Lecture Series: Apple (The Birth of a Third Platform)

Yesterday evening, Chris Hunt and myself went along to a talk at the BCS from Apple, entitled “The Birth of a Third Platform, Mobile Computing in HE”. Overall, it was a good talk, even with the heavy Apple marketing angle.

The talk was hosted by Lawrence Stevenson, who I assume holds a job title like “HE Evangelist”, or such like.

The majority of the talk focused on covering the usage of mobile technologies in HE. From mobile optimised web apps which would tell you about the status of washing machine in halls (such as at the University of Iowa), to iPad’s in class being used by students to find out information during lectures.


Some interesting figures were given out during the presentation.

  • Since 2009, mobile device shipments have declined 10% year on year.
  • But, smartphones grew 20%, and now account for 17% of mobile devices.
  • Smartphones are projected to take 37% of the market by 2012.
  • In US HE, smartphone use has gone from 1.28% in 2005, to 51.2% in 2009.
  • Graduate skill sets have changed from a dominance on physical skills to skills relating to IT (intellectual). In the last 50 years, this has changed from less than 40% to over 65%, today.

Other Points

Some other points made were:

  • “Mobile computing is about producing context and engagement”.
  • “We’ve gone from what is your mobile strategy to where is your mobile strategy”.
  • Slowness in HE integration can route back to lecturers not wanting their jobs to change. Links to Darwin were made on that point.
  • There isn’t an education discount for the iPad because the demand is so high.

In Conclusion

Unfortunately, towards the end we didn’t get a chance to catch him and ask a few questions. He was swamped with people asking about iOS SDK related things, those which are widely reported too.