According to Apple Insider, the House of Commons Commission has announced that all 650 Members of Parliament are set to receive an iPad Air 2 and a laptop after this year’s elections, which will take place in May. The report mentioned the iPad specifically, but did not detail Parliament’s choice of computer brand or desktop operating system.
Cost-cutting technology plan
Despite its billing as a cost-cutting measure, the scheme will cost taxpayers around $300,000 per year over the course of five years, and will see the UK Parliament equipped with Apple tablets, computers and SIM cards.
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“Having been in use across Parliament since 2012, iPads are integrated with current business processes and infrastructure,” said commission chairman John Thurso. “A move away from the Apple operating system (iOS) at this time would incur costs to change these processes.”
It must be said, however, that by maintaining its use of iOS, the UK parliament will avoid having to retrain members in a new operating system and making changes to backend infrastructure.
Thurso claims that tablets greatly reduce hard-copy printing costs, and online publication consumption and editing already saves the government $4.46 million per year. MPs currently use Microsoft Office 365 in order to view, edit and manage documents.
Apple iPad plan provokes opposition
Another report in the British media states that each unit will cost the state 499 pounds, approximately $741, which points to the selection of the 16GB WiFi+Cellular version of the iPad 2.
Despite the fact that laptops and tablets replaced paper in the Commons back in 2012, only 209 MPs actually own an iPad. This latest move looks set to bring every member up to date with the digital revolution, but it has already provoked opposition from some quarters.
Shadow Cabinet Office minister Chi Onwurah criticized the decision to lock MPs into the iOS operating system, and called for a “device independent digital platform.” She claimed that the idea of “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.”