A number of the the US Army’s top technological minds recently took a trip to Cupertino, California to visit Apple’s top secret development labs to discuss the possibility of using Apple technology in future military initiatives.
According to a recent Army press release, Apple welcomed a number of staff members from the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command and showed them around Apple’s laboratories where they discussed current Army use of Apple products and the potential to implement developmental technologies from Apple into the battlefield further down the road.
“We’re continuing to leverage commercial technology for battlefield uses; we can’t ignore that kind of existing knowledge,” Major General Nick Justice stated, “Our job, as stewards of the taxpayer’s dollar, is to adopt and adapt appropriate commercial technology and offer the best possible solution to the warfighter.”
The meeting was part of the Army’s efforts to support “Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications,” an initiative to demonstrate the technical capabilities of hand-held devices and applications to the Army and gathering warfighter. The working group is tasked with looking at how commercial cellular technology – including devices, applications and networks – could be utilized in a tactical environment.
The Army’s visit to Apple’s HQ isn’t their first foray with Apple technology, but rather an extension of an already existing relationship. To wit, the Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) is already working on 2 iPhone apps for military use, one being a counter-insurgency information collection tool and the other a social networking environment called “MilSpace.” Just don’t expect to see those apps pop up on the iTunes App Store anytime soon.
“Apple technologies offer unique and proven solutions with intuitive designs that allow users to learn quickly without a training manual,” said Ron Szymanski, CERDEC’s lead computer scientist on the project. “The Army would like to leverage Apple’s experience when designing military applications.”
But if you are looking to bring a little Army content to your iPhone or iPad, there’s still hope. Last month the US Army’s Technology arm put out a free iPhone app that “puts Army technology news, updates and media, such as images and video, in one location.”
Currently, the US military already employs iPod Touch devices on the battlefield to help with tasks such as interrogation of prisoners.