There seems to be no end of possibilities for Apple’s iPad tablet: You can explore stonehenge, Orangutans can play with it, cats can slice fruit with it, and you can fake a grievous bodily injury with it. Now, you’ll apparently be able to help run a government with one, too. At least, that’s the plan for British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is having a specially made “government dashboard” app developed especially for him.
While the idea of adjusting the controls of state from an iPad — say, moving troop by taping icons, adjusting sliders to change taxes, and pinch-zooming to establish trade agreements — sounds appealing, the app will be more of a snapshot of useful information. With it, the Prime Minister will be able to view wait list figures for the country’s National Health Service, unemployment numbers, and crime statistics. The app will also include breaking news alerts fed from Twitter and other sources.
In short, it’s the kind of information that a public official should keep in mind when making decisions. Or, perhaps more importantly, making statements to the press. Either that or it’s all just a pretense to give Cameron access to Angry Birds for “official purposes.”
The move for a special government app is a surprising one, especially because of a UK government announcement in 2010 that forbade ministers from using iPhones due to security concerns. Hopefully Cameron’s IT guys will get that sorted out. However, I’m left wondering how they’ll get the app on the iPad in the first place. Will the the British Prime Minister be rolling with an unlocked/jailbroken iPad?
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