The American military is known to be on the cutting edge of technology and its combat applications. From smart bombs to drones to autonomous vehicles, no other army in the world more regularly employs technology on the battlefield. It is with little surprise then the most technologically advanced military in the world would want to enlist the most technologically advanced electronics company in the world at Apple.
TUAW reports the head of the US Army’s Research, Development, and Engineering Command, Major General Nick Justice (I couldn’t make that name up if I tried), recently met with the collective in Cupertino. The American military, like most armies worldwide, depend on custom-built electronics that are often overpriced and outmoded before they reach the battlefield. Major General Justice’s command is interesting in exploring the application of off-the-shelf technology to US Army needs. Instead of military developed technology flowing to the private sector (as was the case with the Humvee), commercial tech would flow into the military.
It’s interesting to see the American military conferring with Apple on this matter but it makes perfect sense for a number of reasons. Firstly, Apple is the acknowledged leader in mobile technology. I don’t think there is one person left in the technology sector that wouldn’t acknowledge the versatility and ease of use of the iPhone platform. Military technologies are usually highly focused, highly specialized products. The versatility of the platform would be very enticing to an organization looking for a powerful mobile computing system that can perform many different tasks. The ease of use of the iPhone platform would also be inviting in that most recruits would be familiar with systems operation from their civilian life, freeing instructors to focus on teaching the actual applications.
Secondly, budgetary constraints have forced the military to look at inexpensive solutions to their information technology needs. The iPhone, even at the retail price of $300 – $400 USD per unit, would be a bargain for the US Army. It could take the place of a mobile communications system, battlefield information system, and IFF beacon to name but a few uses. Who knows how much they’re spending on just these three systems alone? And after the initial hardware investment, the only other expense would be in training a corps of developers.
Although in this instance it was the American military talking to Apple, I imagine similar discussions are going on in boardrooms and bunkers throughout the Free World. When viewed as a mobile computing platform, the iPhone represents such a leap forward that it can’t be ignored in either the commercial, corporate, or military space. This convergence and multiplicity of purpose has, in my opinion, permanently put Apple at the forefront of the mobile computing market as they continue to expand their presence in it.
What do you think of the US Army’s move to enlist the iPhone? Do you think corporate and military adoption of Apple’s products are the future? Leave us a comment and let us know.