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US military turning to iPod touch, iPhone

updated 11:30 am EDT, Mon April 20, 2009

US military goes iPod

The US armed forces are increasingly turning to iPod touches -- and iPhones, to a lesser extent -- in order to equip soldiers with multifunction handhelds, says Newsweek. Although neither Apple nor the military will comment on how many have been deployed, the devices are now being used for a variety of purposes. Beyond simple tasks such as mapping, translation, trajectory calculation and carrying video messages, photo apps are in development which could bring up intelligence on a given street, or submit suspect information to a biometric database.

More advanced plans include the ability to send or receive extremely sensitive communications, such as video from unmanned drones, or calls from spies in foreign countries. The US Army is in the process of developing a remote control app for bomb disposal robots, exploiting Apple's motion-sensing technology.

The motivation for using the Touch and the iPhone is said mainly to be cost. Whereas a Touch sells for $230 or less, depending on deals, proprietary military hardware can cost several times that amount. When equipped with protective casing, Apple handhelds are also said to be tough enough for military abuse. Another key point is said to be security, as while the devices have been unlocked and jailbroken, they have yet to fall victim to any major intrusions.

by MacNN Staff



  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Suck on that Microsoft.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: cost

    proprietary military hardware can cost several times that amount.

    that is the stone cold truth. Years ago I worked for a military contractor and I was sent to go look up and print out some milspecs. While looking for the specific ones I needed to find, I came across the milspecs for body bags (they had a euphemism for that of course, but I don't recall it now).

    OMG it was pages and pages and pages and pages of specifications for a freakin' body bag. This is how you get $600 hammers and $1200 toilet seats. These things are written by bureaucrats. Imagine if somebody told you to write down - in excruciating, minute detail - how to drive from your house to your job. That's how these milspecs end up being a novel's worth of pages just for simple items like bodybags or cassette tapes.

  1. brentrn

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Can't find on iTunes

    I am looking for the Military section in the App Store. I want to download the FLB (Frickn' Laser Beam) app. It's like the Flashlight app, except it's a frickn' laser beam!

  1. MatildeMatilde

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I was on a Canadian battleship a couple of years ago, and noticed that a lot of the control room and operations equipment was running Windows 2000. I'd love a Windows 2000 emulator on my iPhone. W2K is so small, stable, and fast on today's hardware. I still use Windows 2000 in VMware at home to run a BitTorrent server and fulfil all my Windows needs.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I hope the armed forces

    give an iPod Touch to every enlisted personnel in the service. That should help Apple sell a million or so more devices. They should make that as an incentive for signing up. Make it Army tough, iPod Touch tough.

  1. msuper69

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Canadian Battleship?

    Canada has never had a battleship.

  1. snackhound

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: Canadian Battleships

    I guess that this is incorrect then;

  1. otherorange

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yes Canadian Battleship

    Canada had the third largest navy on the planet at the end of World War 2. I'm pretty sure that included a handful of battleships.

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