The U.S. Department of Defense expects in coming weeks to grant a security approval for Apple's iPhones and iPads running Apple's latest operating system. Although Apple has been pushing hard to win over U.S. defense agencies, the market is currently dominated by BlackBerry devices which are known for their solid security features.
Getting US defense agency approval can go a long way in making other security-minded customers, such as bankers and lawyers feel more comfortable using Apple's devices.
Separately, DISA is expected to rule in next couple of weeks if Apple's latest operating system, iOS 6, conforms to a different security-requirement guide, the Defense Department spokesman said. That would allow iPhones and iPads to be used by military agencies for nonclassified communications, such as email and Web browsing.
The Defense Department has more than three million employees, though not all of them are issued devices. The agency's spokesman said the approvals "do not directly result in product orders, but facilitate the process by eliminating the need for security reviews at the individual DOD organization level."
Many government agencies—including some divisions of the U.S. military—have already approved iPhones and iPads for use. But the Pentagon certification would allow more security-sensitive government agencies at the Pentagon to start using them, and would allow more widespread use of the devices across government agencies. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.
RIM, meanwhile, has long held the Pentagon's top security approvals for its older-model BlackBerrys. But more recently, it has had to go back to seek fresh approval because its latest BlackBerrys, the touch-screen Z10 and keyboard-equipped Q10, run off a new operating system. RIM says it is close to getting top Defense Department approval for the new OS, called BlackBerry 10. The report also noted that Samsung products were equally being considered.
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