Our man Chen was on top of the big Apple news last night, that iTunes 7.2 is out, and you can now go to town on DRM-free songs. But with Apple there's always one more thing. This time, the una cosa mas is iTunes U, a hub of academic audiotracks and movies that you can download for free. (Free-free? Yes, no-strings-attached free.)
There are already a handful of participating schools like Stanford, Duke, Texas A&M and of course the Otis College of Art and Design. Content is all over the place, from videos on 3D printing to lectures on Indo-European language, sports psychology and Kant. (I for one am a total sucker for Kurt Paterson's seminal lecture on sludge treatment.)
Although most participants are colleges and universities, the content spans the whole educational gamut. For instance, the University of Southern Florida has a series of literary audio tracks for kids Kindergarten through 12th Grade, that is, from "Jack and Jill" to Charles Dickens.
Maybe you don't go to school—you could still use the free downloads to go all Good Will Hunting and self-educate your ass right into the arms of Minnie Driver. Am I wrong?
Apple Announces iTunes U on the iTunes Store
Free Content From Top Universities Now Available
CUPERTINO, Calif., May 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Apple(R) today announced the launch of iTunes(R) U, a dedicated area within the iTunes Store (www.itunes.com) featuring free content such as course lectures, language lessons, lab demonstrations, sports highlights and campus tours provided by top US colleges and universities including Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Duke University and MIT.
"iTunes U makes it easy for anyone to access amazing educational material from many of the country's most respected colleges and universities," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes. "Education is a lifelong pursuit and we're pleased to give everyone the ability to download lectures, speeches and other academic content for free."
"From its earliest days, Stanford has sought to serve the public by sharing the knowledge generated by our faculty and students," said Stanford Provost John Etchemendy. "Our partnership with Apple and iTunes U provides a creative and innovative way to engage millions of people with our teaching, learning and research and share the experience of intellectual exploration and discovery that defines our university."
Created in collaboration with colleges and universities, iTunes U makes it easier than ever to extend learning, explore interests, learn more about a school and stay connected with an alma mater. Content from iTunes can be loaded onto an iPod(R) with just one click and experienced on-the-go, anytime, making learning from a lecture just as simple as enjoying music.
The iTunes Store features the world's largest catalog, adding new education content to over five million songs, 350 television shows and over 500 movies. The iTunes Store has sold over 2.5 billion songs, 50 million TV shows and over two million movies, making it the world's most popular online music, TV and movie store.
With Apple's legendary ease of use, pioneering features such as integrated podcasting support, iMix playlist sharing, seamless integration with iPod and the ability to turn previously purchased songs into completed albums at a reduced price, the iTunes Store is the best way for PC and Mac(R) users to legally discover, purchase and download music and video online.
Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award- winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and will enter the mobile phone market this year with its revolutionary iPhone.