The U.S. military in the past would give a soldier an electronic handheld device, made at great expense specially for the battlefield, with the latest software. But translation is only one of many software applications soldiers now need. The future of “networked warfare” requires each soldier to be linked electronically to other troops as well as to weapons systems and intelligence sources. Making sense of the reams of data from satellites, drones and ground sensors cries out for a handheld device that is both versatile and easy to use. With their intuitive interfaces, Apple devices–the iPod Touch and, to a lesser extent, the iPhone–are becoming the handhelds of choice.
What people who don’t own iPods or iPhones aren’t realizing is that these devices are very capable, portable, and easy to use computers. The Blackberry is a good communication device, but the iPhone and iPod are much more. The 3.0 version of the iPhone OS will expand on this with their ability to interact with devices through the dock connector. I expect to see all sorts of specialty peripherals developed and applications that use the iPhone and iPod to control other devices.