What the iOS 6 Reveals About the Nation’s Great Colleges

Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 21 2012 12:30 PM

The iOS 6 College Tour

The U.S. News and World Report College Rankings came out last week, and Apple's new iPhone and iPad operating system, iOS 6 came out yesterday. I work at one of the Universities ranked by the former. (Of course we pay no attention to them at all.) One of the big features of the latter, meanwhile, is a new map engine, designed by Apple itself, that replaces Google Maps. The service is touted as “the most beautiful, powerful mapping service ever.” As Chris Kirk notes, it has already spawned a Tumblr blog suggesting Apple has some work to do.

With that in mind, I took a quick tour of the “Top 10 Universities” as ranked by U.S. News, just to get a sense of the campuses—much as the nervous parent of a prospective student might do.

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Harvard and Princeton are jointly ranked #1 by US News. According to iOS, both do look like more or less respectable places, although Harvard is perhaps more focused on its athletics facilities than you may have thought. Princeton seems more well-rounded.

MIT and Stanford look pretty good—clearly those CS engineers take care of their own. Meanwhile, in a clear snub, Columbia falls immediately outside the region of New York deemed fashionable enough to get the 3-D Flyover treatment.

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Sadly, things are worse at Yale, which occupies a small house adjacent to a building site. The map also reveals that, ignominiously, Yale is the only elite university to be rated on Yelp. It’s not even a very good rating. New Haven’s Nextalli Taco Truck enjoys substantially higher approval than the University, and presumably also lower prices.

Finally, as you can see below, my own employer has fallen on hard times. I confess that I am addressing you from the electrical substation I have been relocated to, together with my colleagues and our students. Please don't touch anything during your campus visit.

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