Earlier this month we reported that the Pentagon was expected to approve Apple's iDevices for Non-Classified Communications. Two weeks later and the Pentagon approved iPhones and iPads to be used by military agencies for non-classified communications, such as email and Web browsing. The motivation behind Apple's push to get approval from the Pentagon may have surfaced in a new military related publication.
According to a report that surfaced on a military website last week, the Pentagon is planning to award a contract to a tech company early this summer to begin building a system to manage mobile devices and protect them from cyber-attacks. The potential value of the deal wasn't specified.
The report goes on to state that "The Pentagon wants the management system and an associated application store to support at least 100,000 mobile devices from multiple vendors by February."
Today, the military uses about 600,000 commercial mobile devices in operations and testing. That includes about 470,000 devices from BlackBerry, 41,000 from Apple and 8,700 supporting Android.
Although BlackBerry is known to have a superior security system than both Apple and Samsung, Apple's "application store" is the world's largest online App store in the world which may give Apple an advantage.
Interestingly, the three companies that are in the race for the contract (Apple, BlackBerry and Samsung) just happen to be feverishly working around the clock to add fingerprint security to their devices. A security feature such as this is to likely interest the Pentagon, if it wasn't already a feature that they secretly requested.
It's been rumored since January that Apple's next iPhone would in fact debut with their patent-pending fingerprint technology and on April 22, Patently Apple broke the news that the fingerprint sensor may have been the culprit holding back a new iPhone. In hindsight, Apple could have been still working out specification details about the fingerprint scanner with the Pentagon.
Speculation aside, the news concerning Apple devices being "approved" for lower level non-classified communications security may not have covered the full story. In order for Apple to have been considered for the new Pentagon contract, Apple had to first be approved for clearance. At the end of the day, it's now clear that Apple is firmly in the race for the new Pentagon contract.