iWar: Apple’s Military Market

US Marines recharge their army-issue iPods / Photo: Randy,flickr

This week, the biggest names in the mobile phone industry declared war on Apple Inc by forming an alliance to combat the iPhone’s dominance over the apps market. And on Tuesday Microsoft launched a counterattack on the handset with its new Windows Phone 7. The battle waged by rival companies against Apple’s growing monopoly in the world of consumer electronics has become a commonplace media fixture, with the metaphor of war a recurring theme in press coverage.

But outside of the public consumer sphere, Apple’s market has extended to the world of actual warfare. The iPod touch is now being issued to US military personnel due to its multitude of battlefield applications and cost-effectiveness. This single device can be programmed to process the multitude of data of modern warfare, including linking soldiers and drones via wireless internet networks, and as a navigation and translation tool. Apps have been created that allow soldiers to receive intelligence on their local area, translate Arabic, Kurdish and several Afghan languages, and make ballistics calculations.

Another Inquiry or Another Whitewash?
Protestors outside the inquiry / Photo: Chris John Beckett/flickr

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair will be recalled for a second round of questioning after conflicting testimonies were given to the Iraq Inquiry.

It is unclear, however, what the consequences could be if Blair is found guilty of promoting false information regarding the existence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in making the case for war. There seems to be a culture of inquiry in the UK that reinforces our democratic conscience but often results in ambiguous or anticlimactic conclusions.

BBC reports in 2003 quoted a government source claiming the 45-minute dossier had been ‘sexed up’ to justify the Iraq invasion. The Hutton Inquiry was held after the source, Ministry of Defence employee David Kelly, was found dead having apparently committed suicide. The inquiry cleared the government of any wrongdoing and heavily criticized the BBC’s actions – a verdict widely condemned by the press as a whitewash.