Apple's New Weapon

Apple's New Weapon - Benjamin Sutherland, Newsweek

Tying the hands of a person who is speaking, the Arab proverb goes, is akin to "tying his tongue." Western soldiers in Iraq know how important gestures can be when communicating with locals. To close, open and close a fist means "light," but just opening a fist means "bomb." One soldier recently home from Iraq once tried to order an Iraqi man to lie down. To get his point across, the soldier had to demonstrate by stretching out in the dirt. Translation software could help, but what's the best way to make it available in the field?

The U.S. military in the past would give a soldier an electronic handheld device, made at great expense specially for the battlefield, with the latest software. But translation is only one of many software applications soldiers now need. The future of "networked warfare" requires each soldier to be linked electronically to other troops as well as to weapons systems and intelligence sources. Making sense of the reams of data from satellites, drones and ground sensors cries out for a handheld device that is both versatile and easy to use. With their intuitive interfaces, Apple devices—the iPod Touch and, to a lesser extent, the iPhone—are becoming the handhelds of choice...

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