U.S. Air Force May Buy 18,000 Apple IPad 2s for Flight Crews

BIV

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U.S. Air Force May Buy 18,000 Apple IPad 2s for Flight Crews

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Air Force may buy as many as 18,000 iPad 2s in what would be one of the military’s biggest orders of computer tablets, accelerating Apple Inc.’s inroads into the federal government.
The service’s Air Mobility Command plans to issue a request for proposals to buy between 63 and 18,000 iPad 2s or similar devices to lighten the load of flight crews, according to a notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website.
The goal is to replace the bag of manuals and navigation charts weighing as much as 40 pounds that are carried by pilots and navigators, said Captain Kathleen Ferrero, a spokeswoman for the command.
“The airline industry is way ahead of us on this,” she said in a telephone interview. “Most, if not all of the major airliners are already switching to tablets.”
Apple, based in Cupertino, California, has been eating away at Waterloo, Ontario-based Research In Motion Ltd.’s market share in the federal government market.
The Department of Veterans Affairs last year announced a plan to let its employees use iPhones and iPads to conduct official work on the agency’s network. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week said it would supply employees with iPhones, the latest government organization to drop RIM’s BlackBerry.
RIM Market Share
Other military branches have also begun buying phones and tablets running Apple’s iOS and Mountain View, California-based Google Inc.’s Android operating systems.
The Army has purchased about 1,300 various mobile devices as part of a pilot program called Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications, according to Mike McCarthy, who helps oversee the service’s program. About 50 Android-based tablets will accompany troops deploying to Afghanistan this summer, McCarthy said.
RIM’s share of the global smartphone market slid to 8.2 percent in the fourth quarter from 14 percent a year earlier, while Apple’s share rose to 24 percent from 16 percent in the same period, according to research firm IDC of Framingham, Massachusetts.
RIM’s BlackBerry may be joined by other mobile devices with certification to access the Pentagon’s sensitive and classified networks.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is part of the Commerce Department and develops security standards for the U.S. government, is reviewing an application from Apple to validate encryption on the iPhone and iPad, according to Evelyn Brown, an agency spokeswoman.
Other Tablets
Government mobile devices that hold, process or transmit encrypted information must employ hardware and software that meet federal standards, she said. When the agency may decide on Apple’s application is unknown, she said.
Ferrero, the Air Force command spokeswoman, said she expects the request to be released in the next week or two and open to any number of tablets, not just those made by Apple.
Some of the products may include the BlackBerry PlayBook made by RIM, Xoom made by Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., Galaxy Tab made by Samsung Electronics Co. and the Nook made by Barnes & Noble Inc.
A spokesman for Apple didn’t return a call and e-mail requesting comment before business hours in California.
RIM has more than 1 million government customers in North America who rely on the “unmatched” security of the BlackBerry platform, Marisa Conway, a company spokeswoman, said in an e- mail. “The BlackBerry PlayBook remains the only tablet certified for use by U.S. government agencies.”
Air Mobility Command, based at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, provides transport and refueling services to the U.S. military around the world using C-5, C-17 and C-130 cargo planes and KC-10 and KC-135 tankers.
--With assistance from Hugo Miller in Toronto. Editors: Stephanie Stoughton, Joe Winski
To contact the reporter on this story: Brendan McGarry in Washington at bmcgarry2@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Stoughton at sstoughton@bloomberg.net
http://www.businessweek.com/news/20...uy-18-000-apple-ipad-2s-for-flight-crews.html
 

Don the Radio Guy

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How long before a B-2 crashes because the pilot was playing Words With Friends?
 

whiskeyguy

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#7
The service’s Air Mobility Command plans to issue a request for proposals to buy between 63 and 18,000 iPad 2s
You think they'd narrow their RFP to a smaller window. The bid process itself is probably more expensive to the Air Force than just going out and buying 63 iPads.
 

KRSOne

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How great would it be to have a government credit card with a trillion+ limit that you could raise as soon as you hit the limit?
 

Motor Head

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LOL, the iPad 3 is coming out next month...
Yes, and in a few months the Air Force will announce the older "outdated" iPad 2 needs to be upgraded to the newer iPad 3 to keeping the terrorist from killing our freedom. More corporate welfare.
 
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#10
I don't get why they're getting iPads if they just need something to hold tech manuals... Old Nooks or Kindles seem like the ideal choices.
 

OccupyWackbag

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I don't get why they're getting iPads if they just need something to hold tech manuals... Old Nooks or Kindles seem like the ideal choices.
This. And considering how many of these are going to get broken and lost it makes a lot more sense to buy $100 kindles instead of $600 iPads (i don't know what an iPad retails for so relax if I'm off). I doubt those tech manuals need fancy high res color screens. Its probably 90% text and the rest crude black and white illustrations in the actual books.
 

whiskeyguy

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I don't get why they're getting iPads if they just need something to hold tech manuals... Old Nooks or Kindles seem like the ideal choices.
Nooks/Kindles can't handle PDFs too well, which is probably what they will be using. But you're right, they don't need most of the capabilities an iPad has. I'm sure a company can make a basic touchscreen tablet for them that cost <$80, especially if they order 18,000 of them.
 

OccupyWackbag

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Nooks/Kindles can't handle PDFs too well, which is probably what they will be using. But you're right, they don't need most of the capabilities an iPad has. I'm sure a company can make a basic touchscreen tablet for them that cost <$80, especially if they order 18,000 of them.
Or the kindle fire. I think its only $200 and its a stripped down iPad. Perfect for what they want to do.
 

BIV

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#14
Lack of color is also an issue. You need color for charts/diagrams.
 

Josh_R

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Nooks/Kindles can't handle PDFs too well, which is probably what they will be using. But you're right, they don't need most of the capabilities an iPad has. I'm sure a company can make a basic touchscreen tablet for them that cost <$80, especially if they order 18,000 of them.
The military already has shock-resistant, touch-screen, water-resistant laptops, but why not buy a bunch of $600 tablets that are made of glass and die if a fucking drop of water touches them. YAY for limitless budgets!

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/gizmos/2003/03/the_war_machine.html
 

OccupyWackbag

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Lack of color is also an issue. You need color for charts/diagrams.
Kindle Fire. I don't care what US Airways is using, our gov't is in the red and should be as frugal as possible especially with a purchase as big as this.
 

Ballbuster1

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Kindle Fire. I don't care what US Airways is using, our gov't is in the red and should be as frugal as possible especially with a purchase as big as this.
It should but that'll never happen.

Our bloated POS govt will continue to waste cash at an astounding rate.
 

Josh_R

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#19
If an Ipad 2 cost $600, I have to wonder what the Air Force is paying....twice that??
Imagine some Airman showing up to the Genius Bar with 800 busted iPads to ask if it is covered under the warranty.
 

Party Rooster

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#20
I don't get why they're getting iPads if they just need something to hold tech manuals... Old Nooks or Kindles seem like the ideal choices.
Nooks and Kindles only have 7 inch screens for one. Plus you'll get more detail using a better tablet for the maps it said it'll replace, plus the GPS benefits.

If they're also replacing/augmenting other on-board computers, I don't see a problem really.
 

OccupyWackbag

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Or they can just continue to to carry the book like they have been for decades with no problems and worry about this shit when we are more financially sound. Just a thought.
 

Hate & Discontent

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#23
I don't get why they're getting iPads if they just need something to hold tech manuals... Old Nooks or Kindles seem like the ideal choices.
It's for nav charts, not for tech manuals.

This. And considering how many of these are going to get broken and lost it makes a lot more sense to buy $100 kindles instead of $600 iPads (i don't know what an iPad retails for so relax if I'm off). I doubt those tech manuals need fancy high res color screens. Its probably 90% text and the rest crude black and white illustrations in the actual books.
because you can't use a nav chart on a fucking Kindle? As much as I hate Apple, the iPad is probably one of the best products out there for what the article is talking about using them for.

The military already has shock-resistant, touch-screen, water-resistant laptops, but why not buy a bunch of $600 tablets that are made of glass and die if a fucking drop of water touches them. YAY for limitless budgets!

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/gizmos/2003/03/the_war_machine.html
Except those laptops are ass expensive, and often have to be mounted in special rigs inside the aircraft to keep them from bouncing around in turbulence. I'd rather get whacked in the face by an iPad than a Toughbook.
 

Hate & Discontent

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Or they can just continue to to carry the book like they have been for decades with no problems and worry about this shit when we are more financially sound. Just a thought.
Those books have to be updated near constantly - and books are not free. Hell, even updating something as simple as the GPS and ILS systems on an aircraft has to be done on a very regular basis, and the updates themselves cost money.