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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Tech News > [u] Exclusive: US DoD to purchase 650,000 iOS devices

[u] Exclusive: US DoD to purchase 650,000 iOS devices
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Mar 20, 2013, 05:21 PM
 
(Updated with more information from the Department of Defense) Electronista has discovered that the mobile device testing program currently underway at the Department of Defense has produced a pending purchase order for Apple hardware. Following completion of the first phases of the project, as well as a few other initiatives coming to fruition, the Department of Defense will be ordering just over 650,000 iOS devices from the Cupertino manufacturer following conclusion of the sequester.

Previous reports had revealed that the testing program had cut out BlackBerry 10 devices in an effort to save money. While the testing program is still underway, our well-placed sources familiar with the matter have told us that "some of the needs can't wait" and as soon as the sequester was over, the order would be placed.

We were told that the breakdown was 120,000 iPads, 100,000 iPad minis, 200,000 iPod touches, and the remaining 210,000 filled by various iPhones. Specific models were not shared, and would likely be specified at the time of the cessation of sequester spending restrictions. Ultimate destinations for the hardware varies, with Electronista being told that "more than half are headed to the battlefield, afloat, and to associated support commands. Most of the rest will stay [at the Pentagon]."

Another source familiar with the situation told us that the iOS devices were intended to replace nearly all the older BlackBerry devices, now incompatible with the new BlackBerry 10 software release. Statistics gathered from devices deployed by the DoD show 470,000 BlackBerry devices in daily use, none of which use the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. Testing of the new operating system has been gravely impacted by the sequester, and the outright elimination of funds earmarked for the BlackBerry 10 platform may never be restored.

Overall impact on commercial information technology as a result of the sequester depends on the sector. Most departments are taking the DoD's route and paring back new equipment purchases. Dell and Google have already seen an increase in service sales to the federal government. Unexpectedly, planned hardware purchases have been mostly delayed, but not cancelled. The US government spent just short of $80 billion on information technology in 2012, and the sequester is seeing a larger bite taken out of IT funds than other segments of government spending.

Update: A telephone interview that a department of defense spokesman had with Computerworld has shed some more light on the situation. The initial telephone conversation claims that the information obtained "is not from an official DoD source" and notes that the BlackBerry platform is not being dumped. Following these remarks, Electronista readdressed the report and follow-up remarks with sources, who claim that the report of the purchase order is accurate, but emphasized that the purchase awaits rectification of the government's financial situation, as previously reported.
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Mar 21, 2013 at 04:25 PM. )
     
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Mar 20, 2013, 05:53 PM
 
They're just toys, though. This is important to remember.
     
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Mar 20, 2013, 06:20 PM
 
This why, when we read all this "Apple is Doomed" crap on tech blogs, we should all just sit back and have a good laugh. Stuff like this must make the resident trolls (iphonerulez) cringe.
     
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Mar 20, 2013, 06:28 PM
 
who has the last laugh.
     
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Mar 20, 2013, 06:32 PM
 
Yeah, I agree. So does Ferrari. The rest of smartphones are junks.
     
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Mar 20, 2013, 07:29 PM
 
Here in Canada many are crowing about how BB10 and the new Z10 are going to turn things around. How soon there will be 3 mobile OSs; #1 BB, #2 Android, and #3 iOS. Stories like this are why I'm just laughing at them. Stories like this are why I don't recommend BB. It might be a fine device. The Z10 might be great, but they missed the boat. There is no great flood to BB. Simply put, I can't recommend a device from a company I don't expect to exist in a few years.
Though I did not know the place, I set out for the land of my dreams
When I arrived at the land of my dreams, I found I did not know the place
     
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Mar 20, 2013, 07:40 PM
 
So what's the total cost on this?

How's that sequester workin' out for ya?
     
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Mar 21, 2013, 07:13 AM
 
The testing continues and nothing officially has been announced.
     
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Mar 21, 2013, 10:18 AM
 
Unless those devices are fully manufactured in the US with fully vetted suppliers providing the components, how can the Pentagon be sure that the Chinese-manufactured devices have not been doctored whilst in Foxconn factories?
     
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Mar 21, 2013, 10:44 AM
 
We use BB in the Canadian Armed Forces, and I have trouble imagining ever moving to a keyboard-less phone. There would just be too much resistance.

iPads I can see, eventually, after we eventually drop our WinXP systems for something resembling modern. Yeah, we're a bit slow on the IT front.
     
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Mar 21, 2013, 10:54 AM
 
Run a checksum on the software, monitor the networks, weight them against a known good model.

Isn't that a concern for pretty much every single piece of electronics used by the government today?
     
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Mar 21, 2013, 11:52 AM
 
The DoD just came out with a statement that contradicts the article, and says the reporting is in error.... They go one to say that they are not dropping Blackberry... See link here: http://www.electronista.com/articles/13/03/20/sequester.holding.up.purchase.intended.to.replace. failing.devices/
     
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Mar 21, 2013, 11:53 AM
 
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9237777/Defense_spokesman_says_DoD_not_dumping_BlackBerry
     
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Mar 21, 2013, 11:58 AM
 
Apple only makes the big money from iPhones. As long as iPhones sales decline so will Apple's already sagging share price. iPads and iPad Minis and Touches? Don't make me laugh. If Apple moved twice that amount of non-iPhone devices Apple's share price will continue to drop. The only thing holding Apple together is iPhone sales. When they're gone, Apple is gone. Even a kindergartner knows that much. Apple is seriously making Wall Street yawn. If Apple even falls short of expectations by 500,000 iPhones in a quarter, 10% of Apple's share price will vanish in an instant. Wait until you see the shareholder bloodbath this quarter as more investors run for the hills when Apple misses iPhone sales numbers. Talk about doom and gloom. EVERYONE on Wall Street hopes Apple will widely miss expectations again and Tim Cook is making it much easier for their dreams to come true.
     
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Mar 21, 2013, 12:30 PM
 
With hardware vulnerabilities integrated during manufacture, these standard checks are ineffective. Not that I'm an expert, but it seems disconcerting that the Pentagon would outsource the main interface between its top personnel and its operational data, to a China-based supply chain. How do they plan to examine every single hardware aspect of 650k devices to ensure that sensitive data is not being transferred? And at what cost?
     
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Mar 21, 2013, 01:20 PM
 
All you ifans are jumping for joy that Blackberry has been dumped infavor of Apple products. Here is a link for an article that has a statment from the Department of Defence itself. http://computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/security/defense-spokesman-says-dod-not-dumping-blackberry Get your facts straight before bashing Blackberry. The Blackberry 10 phone is better than the iphone 5 in almost every way and they have just added another 30,000 apps. No they are not all android ports, 80% are native apps. The UI is much more intuitive and security trumps apples. You all sound like blackberry fans did 3 years ago just as their ship was sinking. Enjoy the ride and all have fun bashing my post.
     
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Mar 21, 2013, 03:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by iphonerulez View Post
Apple only makes the big money from iPhones. As long as iPhones sales decline so will Apple's already sagging share price.
Well, since iPhone sales are still sharply rising, we're thankfully a LOOONG way away from that happening.

Be sure to get back to us when sales start declining.
     
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Mar 21, 2013, 03:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by richard_1000 View Post
Unless those devices are fully manufactured in the US with fully vetted suppliers providing the components, how can the Pentagon be sure that the Chinese-manufactured devices have not been doctored whilst in Foxconn factories?
Originally Posted by hayesk View Post
Run a checksum on the software, monitor the networks, weight them against a known good model.

Isn't that a concern for pretty much every single piece of electronics used by the government today?
I saw a report recently that claimed that a ridiculously high percentage of chips used in US defense equipment were in fact counterfeit chips and of questionable reliability.
     
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Mar 21, 2013, 03:53 PM
 
nm.
     
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Mar 22, 2013, 03:52 PM
 
This is the second article that has been fed into the mainstream regarding the BB Z10. I find it beyond belief that this trash is published without even back checking. Last week The Gaurdian claiming that the UK government was dumping BB because their devices were not secure! The had to pull the article because it was false. Seems to me someone somewhere is getting paid some serious $$$ to feed negative stories about BB into the online tech media - and they're getting away with it.
     
   
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