Janko Roettgers at New TeeVee is predicting that the iPhone 4 will kill off the Flip Video camera. The new iPhone has HD video capability, so, as the thinking goes, we will all ditch our Flips. That might happen for the regular smartphone user, but not in education.
Let's look at this practically speaking. First off, I like the iPhone as much as the next person. I have one. Sort of. Long story, but let's just say I have one that more or less works. If we look at the iPhone 4 with an starting price of $199, similar to a Flip Ultra HD, it seems to be a no-brainer. Go for the iPhone! But wait, there's more. Don't forget you have to have a data plan with your shiny new iPhone. Add on a minimum of $15/month to your video camera cost.
I have five Flip cameras in my classroom. I bought two of the original versions when they were on close-out, one was given to me as part of a project that I work with and the other two I got through a grant with DonorsChoose. My students and I use the cameras frequently. We have no monthly fee for operating our cameras. All I have to do is replace the batteries on some models.
Are there some things I would change about the Flip? Sure. An audio input jack would be first on my list. Second would be WiFi capability so students could upload directly from the camera to SchoolTube. However, for overall ease of use and affordability, Flip Videos are the way to go.