The United States government is investigating the use of iPads for their federal agencies, most recently the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the US Forest Service. This investigation seeks to determine whether or not the tablets can be adopted in place of their regular notebook computers but perhaps also desktop machines if the iPad can show potential for helping with other requisite computer-related tasks.
With the BLM employing over 16,000 people and an average computer expenditure of US $1,300.00 per person before factoring in maintenance and upgrade costs, the potential for savings is significant.
While I expect some users would not be able to abandon a desktop computer entirely, it is reasonable to expect that the need for a notebook could be diminished significantly with tablet use. The most common activities perform remotely include accessing e-mail, calendars and web browsing which are all things where the iPad excels.
Beyond the actual purchase cost savings that could be realized with a move toward using iPads, there may be a significant savings with regards to technical support as well.
For those concerned about security, considerable strides have been made toward accessing networks securely and without concern. This means iPad use is no more a danger to your data (and perhaps less so) than any device connecting remotely.
No timeline for adoption has been set, even if the decision is made to move forward. The official testing has begun in part this year and will kick into high gear with more departments next year.
It was also reported that Android-based options were also being considered but that Apple and iOS were the front-runners due to their market presence and operating system maturity. The thing that has me curious is if the government moves toward using iPads can we also expect to see iPhones and other Apple hardware becoming dominant in these offices?
PDF copies of the documents can be found on the GovernementAttic.org website: