The House of Commons announced that all Members of Parliament will be given a new iPad Air 2 and laptop after the general election. The move is part of a £1 million hardware refresh.
All 650 House of Commons MPs will soon have their hands on a brand new iPad Air 2, which should help the politicians do business wherever they are.
However, the decision has been criticised by some who would prefer a device-independent approach.
Supplying the new technology is set to cost £200,000 a year over a five-year Parliament.
Apple’s iPad 2 will be in the hands of every MP after the UK general election.
Lib Dem MP John Thurso, on the House of Commons Commission, said:
“Our requirements are for a secure, SIM-enabled tablet with a good life expectancy and capable of supporting future upgrades.
“The Apple iPad Air 2 meets these requirements and is competitively priced when compared with similar models.”
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Shadow Cabinet Office minister Chi Onwurah, did not welcome the decision as she believes it is wrong to lock some of the UK’s most powerful people into a platform that most of her constituents can’t afford.
“As we saw with Nigel Mills and Candy Crush, MPs will be using the games and the iTunes and other features on the iPad.
“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.”
iPads are integrated with current business processes and infrastructure
But Mr Thurso pointed out that iPads are already used across Parliament and that a move away from Apple at this time would be costly.
“Having been in use across Parliament since 2012, iPads are integrated with current business processes and infrastructure.
“A move away from the Apple operating system (iOS) at this time would incur costs to change these processes.
“Given the established nature of iOS in the Houses’ IT service offering, access to parliamentary digital services on iPads is mature, offering greater access than on other mobile devices.
“Members are able to access the intranet and intranet hosted services via their iPads, they are able to access and annotate committee papers and can download a number of Office apps to access any content held within Office 365.
“In addition, PICT are able to remotely manage their security in the case of loss. While all of these services could be provided on other devices and operating systems, currently this would incur further costs in order to deliver them.
“There would be a significant change to move existing members to a different tablet operating system.
“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.”