US DoD set to dump BlackBerry and purchase 650,000 Apple devices

The US Department of Defense is currently testing various Apple iOS devices and on completion of the tests is rumored to be purchasing 650,000 iOS devices. The iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads would replace existing BlackBerry handsets that can’t run the new Blackberry 10 software. The report comes from Electronista who has claims source familiar with the situation.

Following completion of the first phases of the project, as well as a few other initiatives coming to fruition, the Department of Defense will be ordering just over 650,000 iOS devices from the Cupertino manufacturer following conclusion of the sequester.

Previous reports had revealed that the testing program had cut out BlackBerry 10 devices in an effort to save money. While the testing program is still underway, our well-placed sources familiar with the matter have told us that "some of the needs can't wait" and as soon as the sequester was over, the order would be placed.

The 650,000 devices are reportedly 120,000 iPads, 100,000 iPad minis, 200,000 iPod touches and the final 230,000 would be made up of various current iPhone models. The new iOS devices would be distributed around the world, some to battlefields, some onboard ships and of course within the Pentagon.

It was widely known that older, J2ME based BlackBerryOS devices would not be upgradeable to BlackBerry 10, creating an opportunity for organizations to cross-grade rather than upgrade. Security is no doubt a consideration in the sale, because let's face it, news of the deal may have leaked...

If this report proves to be accurate, Apple taking this business from BlackBerry would be huge feather in Apple’s cap and one we are sure to hear a lot more about in the future.

Update: Air Force Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s new mobility initiative spoke to Wired, dismissing the story from Electronista.

“We are not looking to replace those 470,000 BlackBerries with the systems they claim we’re looking to order.” “Every couple weeks, there’s another report that we’re abandoning BlackBerries, and that is just so far from the truth,” Pickart adds.

Source: Electronista, Wired