Here comes the iPhone army

newsguy 0 Tallied Votes 330 Views Share

The iPhone is many different things to many different people. I have heard some refer to it as their cellphone, while others describe it as a smartphone, a pocket computer and even the Jesus Phone. One thing I have not heard people call it is a weapon though. Until now that is.

According to a Newsweek report the iPhone could be the "future of networked warfare." Although that report actually mentions just the iTouch by name, the software being developed by the US Department of Defense will run perfectly well on an iPhone because the two are, essentially, one and the same apart from the obvious lack of certain functionality from the iTouch.

The military rather likes the iTouch/iPhone because it doesn't cost too much in the overall scheme of things, is dead easy to use and can be put to many different tasks. What sort of tasks? Well there is the really rather obvious one of soldier-to-soldier communication on the battlefield, and also that of a handheld intelligence resources device that could include everything from language translation software to aerial imaging displays.

The translation function is a good example of why the iPhone is being touted as the next small thing to become part of the military arsenal. In the past soldiers have had access to handheld devices which provide such a translation function. Newsweek says that these have been "made at great expense specially for the battlefield." The trouble is, such devices cost a lot and do very little other than that core functionality. An iPhone costs relatively little and does a whole load of very diverse things. Just take a look at the App Store for proof of that, although you probably won't be finding too many US Army apps popping up there any time soon.

The other reason that the iPhone could prove to be so cost effective is perhaps not so obvious. Many soldiers are already familiar with the highly intuitive iPhone/iTouch interface so reducing the cost of training while at the same time speeding up deployment in the field.

The Director of Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors Operations for the US Army in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, Lt. Col. Jim Ross, told Newsweek that it "may be all that they need."

windowsrefund 0 Newbie Poster

Please stop hyping Apple's product. Anyone with a clue realizes that the gizmo can only be as powerful as Apple allows it to be due to their license terms. The truth is, many people got sucked into buying the hyped up widget in the same way they get lured into buying their Macs. It's just eye candy. When people want real power (and all the eye candy they can look at), they use Free Software. For a PC, this means GNU/Linux, one of the BSDs and others. For the phone, we're just starting to see what's possible with Android. The iPhone and all the business model that backs it, is a dying breed; part of the old world of vendor lock in and enslavement. Personally, I'm surprised that anyone is still writing about it.

OS11 0 Newbie Poster


your comment seemed off base since daniweb wasn't hyping a product, just discussing future trends. the iPod Touch is an excellent platform for military type tasks, the stability and consistency is an Apple hallmark, and that outweighs the slight downside of it only being 90% open source. and lastly, macs are far more than eye candy, it's the largest installed base of Unix machines 10 to 1 over all others... so it's the future of Unix development, so join the party or forever live a life of misery.

windowsrefund 0 Newbie Poster

There is nothing "open" about Apple's products. They are completely crippled by the company's restrictive license and the embedded Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). The only reason people buy Apple's crap is because of the eye candy (although you will rarely see one of their customers admit it). Real power and flexibility starts and ends with freedom. Only those of us who have the freedom to use for any purpose, redistribute, and modify our software have true power.

thoughtcoder 167 Junior Poster

If you believe in freedom then that includes the freedom to buy whatever cellphone you want.

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