Contemporary soldiers are fighting what Newsweek calls "Networked Warfare." Portable electronic devices and other equipment keep them connected to each other, weapons systems and real-time intelligence where ever they may be. In Iraq, the iPod touch is finding a role with the US military.
In one scenario, touches with language software have replaced much pricier translation units. In fact, soldiers are finding that iPods can replace several devices, lessening the burden of gear that must be carried around. Indian development firm Next Wave Systems is reportedly developing a system that would allow a soldier to receive intelligence almost instantly from a picture snapped with the iPod. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Defense is developing software that will let soldiers monitor video from aerial drones.
As for the iPod's durability, Newsweek reports that it's held up to military life with the proper outer casing. What's more, most of today's soldiers have used or already own an iPod touch, so training time can be kept to a minimum.
At one point, the article notes that, "Apple devices make it easy to shoot, store and play video." Of course, neither the iPhone nor iPod touch we all know can shoot video, though it's possible the Newsweek author is thinking of another Apple product (or just maybe there's a milspec iPhone that does video in advance of the 3.0 release). It's interesting to see a consumer product being used in such an important role. Good luck and be safe to everyone who lifts one in service.
Photo via tikigod at Flickr (here's the story behind it).
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