The FAA plans to expand the use of iPads by its employees, according to a recent report. The agency is planning to develop its own apps and even its own app store. It will also look into adding Android tablets as well.
According to a report from AVWeb, the FAA has roughly 1,100 iPads in the hands of employees. While employees are currently barred from using their iPads to access official FAA networks, they are permitted to use them for email, as well as for using several custom apps produced by the FAA. The iPads have proven particularly useful to mechanics and lawyers. Mechanics can use the tablets to access technical manuals and to file parts requests. Use of iPads instead of desktop computers allows them to save time and increase efficiency. Likewise, tablets allow FAA attorneys to access files and record more quickly and easily. The FAA already has its own custom apps designed to cater to the needs of each group.
In light of the usefulness of iPads for productivity and efficiency, the FAA is planning to "broadly expand" its use of tablets. The agency said that by 2014, employees will have the option to replace their laptops with iPads or Android tablets.
Apple's iOS platform is gaining a significant amount of traction with both government agencies and private businesses. In recent months the NOAA, the ATF, and Halliburton have all made the decision to switch from RIM's BlackBerry platform to iOS, while the NSA has designed its own hyper-secure Android smartphone.
The report was not clear on whether FAA employees would be allowed to supply their own iPad (or Android tablet) or if they would be furnished by the agency.