Vatican has started offering tours of Saint John Lateran via iPod Touch. Personally, I wish they had stepped up the game with iPads. Being able to interact with so much screen real estate while walking and exploring would be awesome!
One can currently ‘tour’ churches all over Europe via stationary kiosks. In nearly every church worth visiting, you’ll see people holding telephone headsets up to their ears as they spin their heads peaking around columns trying to follow along to a monotone voice in a box. The iPods are a much better replacement and it sounds like they have spiced up the audio with characters from history. Hearing Constantine, fresh off the battlefield, legalize Christianity and dedicate this land to the Church would be pretty cool.
Despite some whining in the tourism industry, I don’t think this will, or was even meant to, replace a human tour guide.
The program is currently free, but I’m sure they will charge eventually. I mean visitors even have to pay to turn on the lights in the nave!
Here’s more on the Vatican iPods from USA Today.