Every UK House of Commons member is getting an iPad

26 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

All 650 MPs to receive iPad Air 2 and laptop post-election.

Apple’s iPad Air 2 is getting its own ‘Oprah moment’ in the UK today, as all 650 Members of Parliament in the UK House of Commons members are getting the devices following the general election coming up in May.

But Shadow Cabinet Office minister Chi Onwurah criticised the decision to lock MPs into the Apple operating system and told Computerworld UK she would have preferred a ‘device agnostic’ policy. ‘Locking some of the most powerful people in the country into a platform that most of my constituents can’t afford seems like a mistake.And Tory MP Nigel mills apologised last year after spending more than two hours playing Candy Crush during a select committee hearing on vital pension reforms.The parliamentary administrative body recommended in 2013 that a tablet computer and a laptop “should be the first pieces of equipment offered to all members after the 2015 election”. The standard model used will be the 16GB Wi-Fi plus cellular version, and there’s no word yet on whether they’ll get to pick their own color, according to The Telegraph.

I’m pushing for a device independent digital platform for Parliament.’ Mr Mills, the MP for Amber Valley in Derbyshire, was supposed to be listening to experts give evidence at a meeting of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee. If the ruing Conservative party is ousted and the pendulum shifts back to rival Labour, key positions such as Prime Minister would change hands; the post-election Parliament could easily be an all-new government when MPs go back to work in May. Due to their use in Parliament since 2012, iPads are “integrated with current business processes and infrastructure,” said commission chairman John Thurso.

He had initially said he would merely ‘try’ not to be diverted by the game again, but yesterday afternoon in a statement he said: ‘I guarantee it will not happen again. The incentive behind the plan is to ensure that the MPs will be able to conduct business securely no matter where they may be; while many MPs already had their own personal iPads before this move, now the tablet will be considered standard issue – and will be paid for from taxpayer funds. Prime Minister David Cameron is a well-known fan of the tablet, and has joked of his love for playing popular games Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja on the device. Apple’s decision to partner with IBM probably helps them to some extent with government customers, but increased adoption likely has more to do with the slow pace of institutional change finally catching up with available tech. Any departure from iOS would require re-training for the current members using iOS and new training to be developed for the remaining 441 members and all relevant PICT support staff.’

The plan itself has a price tag of around £1 million – equal to about $1.5 million – over the length of half a decade, and while the ability to save money on paper waste by no longer having to print countless paper document copies, some feel the savings could have been larger with less expensive hardware. In addition, some MPs are less than enthusiastic about the choice to go with an iOS powered device instead of something that would be more device independent, such as Google’s open source Android operating system.

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