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US Air Force awards $9M contract for up to 18,000 iPads

post #1 of 83
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It was announced on Friday that the US Air Force Air Mobility Command had awarded a $9.36 million contract to purchase up to 18,000 iPad 2s slated for use in the military arm's cargo aircraft.

The contract was given to Phoenix, Arizona-based computer service company Executive Technology Inc. on Thursday, and is the first step in the Air Force's plan to replace existing paper-based flight bags with so-called electronic flight bags (EFB), reports Bloomberg.

The announcement confirms a previous report that the Air Force was planning the buy for its transport and refueling wing, which called for "minimum of 63 and a maximum of 18,000 iPad 2" units or "equal devices."

Military spokeswoman Captain Kathleen Ferrero said that AMC will use the 32GB Wi-Fi version of Apple's tablet as EFBs aboard a variety of cargo aircraft. She went on to say that the command has already purchased 63 units that will be used for testing when they arrive sometime in the next 30 days.

Ferrero said the contract price per unit came with a substantial discount which dropped the tablet's $599 retail price down to around $520.

In all, 24 companies placed bids for the lucrative military contract, with the command's final decision being based in part on which firm could offer the lowest price. Ferrero declined to name the companies involved, or if Apple itself took part in the bidding process.

"It was open to everybody," Ferrero said. "We weren't going to any specific vendor."

Although the $9.36 million contract is earmarked for the purchase of iPad 2s over the span of one year, the order is "contingent upon funding requests and approval," meaning that the Air Force doesn't necessarily have to buy all 18,000 units.




Air Mobility Command's plan to ditch paper flight bags for digital alternatives echoes moves from the private sector as carriers like Delta and American Airlines are currently in the process of making the switch to EFBs.

While traditional flight bags contain heavy manuals, maps and charts, EFBs offer a tablet-based package that results in fuel cost savings and improved efficiency. The Federal Aviation Administration first approved Apple's iPad 2 for the task in July, 2011, and numerous commercial airlines have tested and implemented the solution in the intervening months.

Ferrero said that the military will use the tablet to allow its crews to meet Pentagon efficiency goals, and help navigators and pilots operate more effectively on the flight deck.

“Aircrews fly nonstop worldwide missions and require access to flight publications both on and off the aircraft, throughout all phases of flight,” Ferrero said. The iPad 2 fits that need in a small, easy to carry package.

The news comes on the heels of the Air Force's Special Operations Command's recent decision to cancel an order of 2,861 iPad 2s, reportedly nixed over security concerns regarding a Russian-made app included in the proposed EFB.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 83
Wait, didn't they just forgo iPads for some other tablet and software written by one of our former enemies, or what was that?
post #3 of 83
This is great news. I'm sure the rest of the "requirements" were support, stability, and ease-of-use. That pretty much throws Android out the window.

Android tablets are pretty much obsolete about 17 hours after they are sold. Most don't even run ICS and those that do already have a history of bailing their customers.

Great thing for Apple and AAPL. Those pilots will enjoy using them, which will most likely result in a trickle-down effect of getting their own personal iPad or one for their family. Keep spreading the love!

Cue the iHaters for their typical story-spinning on how the military now is just a bunch of M16-carrying iSheeps.
post #4 of 83
Don't they read AI? iPad 3 will launch before the ink dries on that contract.

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post #5 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Don't they read AI? iPad 3 will launch before the ink dries on that contract.

That's why Apple was so happy to give them a 'discount'.
post #6 of 83
As revolutionary and great as the iPad platform is I'm still amazed when I read about the speed and quantity at which government and corporate entities are adopting the platform. I can't recall any other tech that was adopted this widely and quickly.

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post #7 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

As revolutionary and great as the iPad platform is I'm still amazed when I read about the speed and quantity at which government and corporate entities are adopting the platform. I can't recall any other tech that was adopted this widely and quickly.

I think they admire Apple's iron fisted control and locked down security policies since they are control freak organizations too.

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post #8 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Don't they read AI? iPad 3 will launch before the ink dries on that contract.

Exactly! That substantial discount will seem pretty weak in a week.

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post #9 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Don't they read AI? iPad 3 will launch before the ink dries on that contract.

Possibly, but I've read plenty of comments by forum members that have tried to order multiple iPads and iPhones for their company and have had to wait months because securing multiple units is difficult. I can't imagine what it's like to secure 18,000. Plus, when it comes to bulk discounts that becomes less desirable for Apple when they can ship as many as they make regardless.

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post #10 of 83
It seems very weird to me that they would buy iPads from a 3rd party instead of direct from Apple. How could a 3rd party be cheaper than direct from Apple, if the 3rd party also has to make money? Apple would have to be selling the iPads to the 3rd party cheaper than they were willing to sell them to the air force?? (although I'm very tired so my logic might not make sense)
post #11 of 83
"Although the $9.36 million contract is earmarked for the purchase of iPad 2s over the span of one year"

I guess somebody told them that the iPad 2 will be in production for another year... good news i think......
post #12 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Possibly, but I've already plenty of comments by forum members that have tried to order multiple iPads and iPhones for their company and have had to wait months because securing dozens, muchless thousands, is difficult. Plus, when it comes to bulk discounts that becomes less desirable for Apple when they can ship as many as they make regardless.


The article said they are not purchasing them all at once. They even said they have no obligation to actually purchase that many hence it seems likely the contract can be renegotiated as the new models arrive or they should be getting whatever 32 GB version is current over the life of the contract.

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post #13 of 83
"It was open to everybody," Ferrero said. "We weren't going to any specific vendor."

Right, whatever.

23 companies submitted bids with NO chance of winning.

iPad rules.

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post #14 of 83
So now the American Air Force is helping to kill Chinese citizens.

18,000 units. That's a lot of dead Foxconn employees when you work out the percentages.

Wait till the New York Times runs with this...
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post #15 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Don't they read AI? iPad 3 will launch before the ink dries on that contract.

But apparently the contract specifies "or the equivalent", which the iPad 3 would qualify as. The sticking point would be if the price of the iPad 3 is going to be higher as is rumored. Then it's not as simple of a contract amendment as would be substituting an iPad 3 for an iPad 2.

More importantly, as a tax payer, if the price of the iPad 2 goes down after the 3 is introduced, will the savings be passed on to the Air Force?

Quote:
Originally Posted by l008com View Post

It seems very weird to me that they would buy iPads from a 3rd party instead of direct from Apple. How could a 3rd party be cheaper than direct from Apple, if the 3rd party also has to make money? Apple would have to be selling the iPads to the 3rd party cheaper than they were willing to sell them to the air force?? (although I'm very tired so my logic might not make sense)

The 3rd party is likely handling the set-up and configuration of each iPad as well as developing the maintenance and upgrade process (ie, how to periodically update the data files). It's not like they are going to hand an airman an off-the-shelf iPad and tell him/her to go plug it into iTunes to install the software and datafiles it needs.
post #16 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by l008com View Post

It seems very weird to me that they would buy iPads from a 3rd party instead of direct from Apple. How could a 3rd party be cheaper than direct from Apple, if the 3rd party also has to make money? Apple would have to be selling the iPads to the 3rd party cheaper than they were willing to sell them to the air force?? (although I'm very tired so my logic might not make sense)

We don't know if Apple bid directly for the contract. Does Apple ever sell direct to government or companies? I know they sell direct to schools.

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post #17 of 83
I've just heard that Iron Man has struck a lucrative deal with Apple and adopted use of the iPad in his suit.

The skies just keep getting safer.

He's even gone so far to change his name to 'iPad Man'

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post #18 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

That's why Apple was so happy to give them a 'discount'.

Absolutely.

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post #19 of 83
That is going to be one heck of a line outside the Apple store.
post #20 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

So now the American Air Force is helping to kill Chinese citizens.

18,000 units. That's a lot of dead Foxconn employees when you work out the percentages.

Wait till the New York Times runs with this...

Are you that foolish ??
post #21 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by APPLEBIRD View Post

Are you that foolish ??

It's irony.

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post #22 of 83
Quote:
minimum of 63 and a maximum of 18,000 iPad 2"

Government actuaries.

Reminds me of that Steven Wright line, "A few years ago...oh wait, it was last night."
post #23 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

It's not like they are going to hand an airman an off-the-shelf iPad and tell him/her to go plug it into iTunes to install the software and datafiles it needs.

Want to bomb Iran back to the Stone Age? There's an app for that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodlink View Post

"It was open to everybody," Ferrero said. "We weren't going to any specific vendor."

Right, whatever.

23 companies submitted bids with NO chance of winning.

iPad rules.

Uh, seriously? The bid *for iPads* went out to 23 vendors. Note, if you read the article, that it isn't Apple selling the iPads to the Air Force, it's an outside *vendor*.... for all the reasons Wiggin states.
post #24 of 83
The Air Force still forces us to use blackberry telephones for email. Something wrong here...maybe in time RIM will lose their grip on the government's communications.
post #25 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by l008com View Post

It seems very weird to me that they would buy iPads from a 3rd party instead of direct from Apple. How could a 3rd party be cheaper than direct from Apple, if the 3rd party also has to make money? Apple would have to be selling the iPads to the 3rd party cheaper than they were willing to sell them to the air force?? (although I'm very tired so my logic might not make sense)

I imagine that Apple was very closely involved with the offer from the supplier. You know that they're a special specification in one way or another.
post #26 of 83
And in related news, the Royal Zimbabwean Air Force announced today that it had struck an exclusive deal to be supplied with Android tablets for all of their planes. The deal is rumored to be worth as much as 257 million Zimbabwean dollars, which roughly translates into $14,250 US Dollars. These Android tablets will be used primarily for flight manuals, though only on very short distance flights, as the batteries will die out after 3.5 hours. To alleviate this problem, each pilot will be furnished with at least 4 Android tablets which they must carry with them at all times, otherwise they will instantly get their legs chopped off for neglecting their duties.

Commenting on this historic deal to the AP, General Ooogie Boogie, supreme commander of the Zimbabwean Air Force said "We chose Android tablets, because they are clearly the best tablets around. We love widgets in Zimbabwe, and rooting is practically a national pastime for us. We also love the green Droid character. It is very cute."

NZSA, the National Zimbabwean Space Agency, will also be getting a special delivery of these Android tablets and using a newly acquired Android tablet during a test flight last week, they managed to launch a space craft a full 68 feet into the air, shattering all previously held records.

Another plane unfortunately crashed last week, killing all 7 people onboard including the pilots, but that was due to Google Ads popping up when the pilots were trying to navigate and land the plane. The colorful yet annoying flash ads triggered multiple seizures. A senior member of the military commented that "Such is the cost of using Freeware. A few lives might go lost here and there, but we still get to play Angry Birds for free, and that's what matters most."
post #27 of 83
Too bad they had to put in the "or similar unit clause". The Asus transformer prime does way more at the same price.
post #28 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

And in related news, the Royal Zimbabwean Air Force announced today that it had struck an exclusive deal to be supplied with Android tablets for all of their planes. The deal is rumored to be worth as much as 257 million Zimbabwean dollars, which roughly translates into $14,250 US Dollars. These Android tablets will be used primarily for flight manuals, though only on very short distance flights, as the batteries will die out after 3.5 hours. To alleviate this problem, each pilot will be furnished with at least 4 Android tablets which they must carry with them at all times, otherwise they will instantly get their legs chopped off for neglecting their duties.

Commenting on this historic deal to the AP, General Ooogie Boogie, supreme commander of the Zimbabwean Air Force said "We chose Android tablets, because they are clearly the best tablets around. We love widgets in Zimbabwe, and rooting is practically a national pastime for us. We also love the green Droid character. It is very cute."

NZSA, the National Zimbabwean Space Agency, will also be getting a special delivery of these Android tablets and using a newly acquired Android tablet during a test flight last week, they managed to launch a space craft a full 68 feet into the air, shattering all previously held records.

Another plane unfortunately crashed last week, killing all 7 people onboard including the pilots, but that was due to Google Ads popping up when the pilots were trying navigate and land the plane. The colorful yet annoying flash ads triggered multiple seizures. A senior member of the military commented that "Such is the cost of using Freeware. A few lives might go lost here and there, but we still get to play Angry Birds for free, and that's what matters most."

Glad to see we have a resident racist.
post #29 of 83
Good to see apples golden contract with the good old ns of a is paying off.
post #30 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by realitycheck69 View Post

The Asus transformer prime does way more at the same price.

Sure it does.
post #31 of 83
18,000 iPads is about 3 hours worth of Apple iPad sales

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post #32 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Ferrero said the contract price per unit came with a substantial discount which dropped the tablet's $599 retail price down to around $520.

Well $79 out of 599 is NOT substantial and nothing to brag about.
In fact, it's pretty lame for a few thousand units.
post #33 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by APPLEBIRD View Post

Are you that foolish ??


Keep up.
post #34 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by realitycheck69 View Post

Glad to see we have a resident racist.

And I'm glad to see that we have an apologist for racist dictators here, as you might want to check out who somebody called Mugabe is. You seem to know as little about the world as you do about tech, since you are an Apple hater on an Apple forum afterall.
post #35 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franck View Post

Well $79 out of 599 is NOT substantial and nothing to brag about.
In fact, it's pretty lame for a few thousand units.

13% off when they don't have to discount them all is nothing? If they buy 18k that's a discount of $1,422,000 without even including any sales tax. That seems substantial to me.

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post #36 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

And in related news, the Royal Zimbabwean Air Force announced today that it had struck an exclusive deal to be supplied with Android tablets for all of their planes. The deal is rumored to be worth as much as 257 million Zimbabwean dollars, which roughly translates into $14,250 US Dollars. These Android tablets will be used primarily for flight manuals, though only on very short distance flights, as the batteries will die out after 3.5 hours. To alleviate this problem, each pilot will be furnished with at least 4 Android tablets which they must carry with them at all times, otherwise they will instantly get their legs chopped off for neglecting their duties.

Commenting on this historic deal to the AP, General Ooogie Boogie, supreme commander of the Zimbabwean Air Force said "We chose Android tablets, because they are clearly the best tablets around. We love widgets in Zimbabwe, and rooting is practically a national pastime for us. We also love the green Droid character. It is very cute."

NZSA, the National Zimbabwean Space Agency, will also be getting a special delivery of these Android tablets and using a newly acquired Android tablet during a test flight last week, they managed to launch a space craft a full 68 feet into the air, shattering all previously held records.

Another plane unfortunately crashed last week, killing all 7 people onboard including the pilots, but that was due to Google Ads popping up when the pilots were trying to navigate and land the plane. The colorful yet annoying flash ads triggered multiple seizures. A senior member of the military commented that "Such is the cost of using Freeware. A few lives might go lost here and there, but we still get to play Angry Birds for free, and that's what matters most."

Good one

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post #37 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by realitycheck69 View Post

Too bad they had to put in the "or similar unit clause". The Asus transformer prime does way more at the same price.

Right. Keep telling yourself that. The tens of millions of happy iPad users, plus a soon-to-be 18,000 military pilots trusted with keeping the U.S.A. safe by using iPads instead of has-been-wannabe-iPad-clones are just a bunch of iSheeps.

Better click the heels of those ruby-red slippers of yours. That too is probably powered by Android and as usual, the batteries are probably dead.
post #38 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Possibly, but I've read plenty of comments by forum members that have tried to order multiple iPads and iPhones for their company and have had to wait months because securing multiple units is difficult. I can't imagine what it's like to secure 18,000. Plus, when it comes to bulk discounts that becomes less desirable for Apple when they can ship as many as they make regardless.

The long-term be benefits to Apple of a purchase like this, are amazing...

Consider that when it comes time for additional purchases, replacements and upgrades -- likely there will be a requirement for compatibility with the existing devices (operation, training, maintenance, etc.).

For example, my Dad's company got his brake master cylinder written into the specs for tank steering by FMC Corp. For each part installed 4 replacement parts were sold for every location that serviced tanks.

Then, the Army used the tank specs to source brake master cylinders for the Bradley Military Vehiclle.

Over the life of the product, Dad's company sold hundreds of units for each original unit sold to FMC.
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post #39 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Wait, didn't they just forgo iPads for some other tablet and software written by one of our former enemies, or what was that?

Jeeze, where you been? That news was sooooo last week.
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post #40 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by realitycheck69 View Post

The Asus transformer prime does way more at the same price.

Give the Air Force Android tablets?

Now that's a surefire way to get some Angry Birds!
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